Formula E Season 10 Round 1 Mexico City E-Prix: Wehrlein Takes A Commanding Win after Securing Pole

Pascal Wehrlein secured the victory after starting on pole position for the first round of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship to kickstart his championship challenge earlier on.

The electric series, in its tenth year got off to an explosive start, with the opening taking place in Mexico, a venue that has been used since the series infancy. Before the action even started, there was already some pre-race drama as Sergio Sette Camara’s ERT was withdrawn from competition due to a technical issue. And the drama didn’t stop there. Stoffel Vandoorne, Mitch Evans and Nick Cassidy all received a one place grid penalty due to not following red flag procedures in FP1.

After the drama, Formula E went green for the first time this year. It was a clean start for everyone through the first few corners with Dennis making his way up the grid after his disaster in qualifying. Di Grassi was the first victim in Mexico. Due to a brake issue, he hit the barrier and stopped on track, he managed to limp back to the pits and retire from the race.

Lucas di Grassi, ABT CUPRA Formula E Team, M9Electro Image Credit: Formula E Media Bank

Da Costa and Mueller had an incident a few laps later which resulted in the Porsche driver retiring from the race as he ended up in the wall after an ambitious move on the Abt driver. The incident was investigated after the race  and Da Costa received a three place grid penalty for the next race. Everyone seemed to settle into the race, until more drama reared up, but this time from the steward’s room.  Race control stated that three drivers were under investigation: the Andretti pair of Jake Dennis and Norman Nato and more critically, race leader Pascal Wehrlein. There was no further investigation for Nato but Wehrlein and Dennis were investigated after the race but both also received no further investigation from the stewards.

Pascal Wehrlein, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, Porsche 99X Electric Gen3 Image Credit: Formula E Media Bank

The returning Envision Racing driver of Robin Frijns crashed at turn thirteen, just at the exit of the stadium arena. This resulted in a full course yellow and the safety car made it’s first appearance this season.  Frijns managed to walk away on his own accord. It then emerged that Frijns had an issue with his car before the race so this could have been a factor in his crash.  Before the race was declared green again, man of the drivers had attack mode remaining, including Buemi who was currently sitting in P2. Behind him, Guenther, Evans, Hughes, Dennis, Bird, Fenestraz, De Vries and Daruvala all had one attack mode remaining . The Season 7 champion Nyck De Vries had fallen down the pack at this point and was holding up Ticktum, Daruvala and Mueller, whilst current champion Dennis had a relatively quiet race.

The highlight in the latter stages was certainly the battle between Jean-Eric Vergne and Mitch Evans. They were having a fight of their own, as the Jaguar driver had to hold off the constant attacks from the two time world champion. It was first blood to Evans as he managed to pull a consistent gap of five tenths as energy conservation began to bite. Ticktum also struggled, falling back dramatically due to his overspending of energy earlier on in the race. Two additional laps were added to the end of the race due to the safety car earlier for the Frijns shunt. However, these did not stop Wehrlein as he held onto the lead and claimed victory in the Mexico City E-Prix for the second time. Envision Racing’s Sebastian Buemi finished P2, with championship contender Nick Cassidy taking the final podium. Maximilian Guenther finished P4 with Mitch Evans just holding off Jean-Eric Vergne for P5, Jake Hughes took P7 ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne in P8, current world champion Jake Dennis had to settle for P9 whilst Norman Nato rounded out the top ten.

Formula E returns in a few weeks with a double header in Diriyah!

Da Costa Brings Home The Victory in Cape Town -Cape Town ePrix Report

Antonio Felix DaCosta brought home the victory for Porsche after a day to remember for the inaugeral Cape Town ePrix.

Qualifying:
Qualifying in Group A saw Sacha Fenestraz, Nick Cassidy, Pascal Wehrlein and Jean-Eric Vergne advance into the duels.

Group B saw Rene Rast, Mitch Evans, Sebastian Buemi and Max Guenther advance to the duels after the Maserati of Eduardo Mortara crashed into the wall, no yellow flags being brought out and then the Jaguar of Mitch Evans colliding with the same wall and hitting Mortara. This led to a clean up and Evans being ruled out of the race.

Absent from qualifying, however, were both the ABT Cupra and Mahindra cars. This is due to the fact that there were safety concerns with the suspensions of the cars and the teams withdrew them from the race. This brought the amount of cars on the grid down to 16.

Within the Duel Quarter Finals, Wehrlein took on Cassidy and Cassidy was able to beat the championship leader by 0.152seconds. Next up saw the rookie of Fenestraz take on the two time champion of Vergne. The rookie beat the champion to progress further in the duels. Buemi took on Evans in the next duel and Buemi was ahead by a few thousands of a second but overcooked it and hut the barrier which cost him a shot at moving further. Evans then progressed. The final quarter final saw Maximilian Guenther take on Rene Rast with Guenther claiming victory.

The Duel Semi Finals saw Fenestraz take on Cassidy for a shot at the final and Fenestraz managed to beat the Envision driver to earn his first shot at pole and a guaranteed spot on the front row. Guenther took on Evans and while Evans was ahead as Guenther crossed the line, Evans made a mistake which saw Guenther through to the final.

With both Fenestraz and Guenther through to the final,this guaranteed Formula E a new pole sitter. It was very close around the lap but Fenestraz managed to pull a gap of over 4 tenths by the time they reached the line and managed to get his first pole position in Formula E. Along with this, the lap by Fenestraz was the fastest lap ever in the history of Formula E.

Race:

The start of the race saw Fenestraz keeping the lead and Cassidy challenging Guenther on the first lap for P2. It was a clean lap 1 until the championship leader Pascal Wehrlein hit the back of Sebastian Buemi. This led to the championship leader retiring from the race and a safety car being deployed on lap 2. Just as the safety car was came out, Guenther overtook Fenestraz for the lead of the race. Eduardo Mortara also had to retire from the race.

The safety car went into the pits on lap 5. By lap 8, Vandoorne, Dennis, Lotterer, Buemi and Sette Camara had all used one of their attack mode. Vergne was close on the tail of Rene Rast. Fenestraz and Evans both took attack mode on lap 10. Guenther took his attack mode 1 lap later and managed to stay ahead of Fenestraz. Cassidy lead the race but he still had to take both of his attack mode. Evans, meanwhile, receieved a drive through penalty for an overuse of power.

Cassidy and Guenther took attack mode on lap 13 but Cassidy managed to keep the lead while Guenther came out in 3rd place.

Formule E’s Nick Cassidy leading the Cape Town E Prix. Image Credit to Formula E.

Vergne took attack mode on lap 16 which saw Antonio Felix Da Costa take P4 as lap 17 arrived. Fenestraz was keeping on the back of Cassidy. Lap 19, the driver who was P2 in the championship, Jake Dennis received a drive through penalty for not respecting mimumum tyre pressure. Dennis’ teammate Andre Lotterer was also under investigation for a safety car infringement.

On lap 21, the driver who started P2 Max Guenther crashed into the wall and had to pull over to retiring from the race. Lap 22 saw a full course yellow which was right after Fenestraz and Cassidy took their second attack mode. This led for the majoirty their attack modes to be wasted. Cassidy maintained first but Fenestraz dropped down to P4.

As lap 23 occured, Lottrer was given a 5 second time penalty for a safety car procedure. Cassidy lead the race from Da Costa in P2 and Vergne in P3 but Da Costa had another attack mode to take. On the next lap, he took a risk going to the lead which paid off and he took first from Cassidy. Vergne then took P2 form Cassidy. Lap 26, Da Costa tried to take attack mode but he missed one of the sections where he must enter in order to obtain it. Vergne managed to keep near Da Costa so when Da Costa did take it, Vergne would take the lead of the race.

The final 4 laps of the race saw Da Costa racing after Vergne. On lap 30, Fenestraz managed to overtake Cassidy for third place. However, there was 2 added laps due to the laps while under the safety car.

On the second last lap, Da Costa went for a move that not seen before and mnaaged to take the lead of the race from Vergne. Fenestraz hit the wall on the last lap. Da Costa took the victory ahead of Vergne and Cassidy in P2 and P3. Rene Rast finished P4 and Buemi in P5. Ticktum, Vandoorne and Nato finished in P6, P7 and P8 with Lotterer and Hughes finishing off the top 10.

Formula E Diriyah Qualifying and EPrix-Horror for Maserati and Victory for Wehrlein

Qualifying

Qualifying for the first race in the Gen 3 era of Formula E in Saudi Arabia got off to a less-than-ideal start for Maserati as Maximilian Guenther crashed early on in the Group A session.  He was uninjured after the collision with the barrier.

Ticktum and Rowland went head to head in the first quarter final with Ticktum taking the victory.

Di Grassi and Hughes went head to head for the second quarter final and Hughes taking  the victory in that one.

It was Evans against Buemi in the third quarter final and Buemi took the victory.

Rast and Bird went head to head for the final quarter final with Rast losing out to Bird by 2 tenths.

In the first semi final, Hughes took victory over Ticktum which saw Hughes go through to the final.

The second semi final saw Buemi take victory over Bird by less than a tenth.

The final saw an epic battle from Buemi and Hughes. Buemi just took pole over Hughes.

Sebastian Buemi with his Pole Trophy in ahead of the Diriyah E-Prix.
Credit: Formula E

Race

Before the race began, it was announced that Sergio Sette Camara would have a 3 place penalty for impeding Pascal Wehrlein in qualifying.

Maximilian Guenther’s crash in qualifying resulted in him not starting the race.

The 39 lap event  started with contact between Rowland and Da Costa which resulted in them both pitting early on. This led to the safety car being brought out for less than a lap. Evans hit Rene Rast on lap 1 turn 1 as well. It was a calm safety car restart but then Sam Bird got Jake Hughes who started in P2. However, Bird was not done yet. He then started to hunt Buemi down and he eventually got him.

Fast track to Lap 7 where Bird took the lead over from Buemi after his hunt. Onto lap 11, Evans tried to get past Rast but locked up and lost a few places as a result. Lap 15 saw Muller pit and eventually retire from the EPrix.

Lap 25 saw an epic battle between Pascal Wehrlein and Sam Bird. Wehrlein had more energy and an extra attack more compared to Bird. He managed to stay with him but going into turn 18, he locked up and lost the place he gained for a few seconds. Further down, Cassidy was trying to get past the Andretti of Jake Dennis but instead, Dennis and Cassidy got the McLaren of Jake Hughes when Hughes had to get his attack mode.

Enter the final stages of the race and Wehrlein was still on Sam Bird’s tail. Onto lap 30 and turn 18, Wehrlein gets past Bird and maintains it.  Buemi had to get his last attack mode which put Dennis up into 3rd place after starting 11th.

Lap 33 comes around and Dennis was on a charge. Dennis takes Bird on lap 34 just as Wehrlein gets his second attack mode. Wehrlein came out just ahead of Dennis but it saw a battle to the end which saw Wehrlein take his second victory in Formula E.

Further down the field, Maserati’s last remaining car of Eduardo Mortara had to retire on lap 33. He joined Muller as the second retirement of the race.  Muller’s teammate Kevin Van Der Linde only managed P16 on his debut for the injured Robin Frijns.  Da Costa and Rowland also managed to make it to the end of the race but finishing in the bottom 2 positions due to their collisions on lap 1. Despite obtaining P4 in qualifying, Dan Ticktum dropped down to P14 by the end of the race with his teammate Sergio Sette Camara behind him in 15th.

Di Grassi, Nato and Vandoorne finished off the non points scorers with Evans Lotterer, Hughes, Vergne and Cassidy making up from P10 top 6 respectfully. Rene Rast for McLaren managed P5 with the fastest lap and Buemi finishing P4 to round off the non podium positions.

Wehrlein took the win ahead of Dennis in P2 and Bird in P3.

Toyota can’t fail this year

Le Mans 24 – Iconic. Photo credit Toyota Gazoo Racing WEC

Toyota have never won the 24 hours of Le Mans which is one of the world’s most demanding races. They are massive favourites this year and they have got the best chance through various reasons! 

Toyota are the only team in the leading LMP1 Hybrid class, as Porsche withdrew from the series last year. They have no realistic competition and you could say the LMP1 rule book gives them an advantage that places Toyota in firm control.

The number seven car will be piloted by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López. Photo credit, Toyota WEC

The handicaps that the privateer LMP1 teams are as follows. They are not allowed to lap faster than the hybrid class, and if the privateers do, they will get a drive through penalty. The others involves the pit stops, in that a hybrid car can go a lap longer of 11 laps on fuel, whilst the privateer cars can only go 10 laps. Finally the hybrids also have a minimum pit stop time of 5 seconds which shorter than the other class. Toyota therefore will spend much less time in the pits than any other team. So realistically reliability is the only thing that would prevent them. 

Toyota have come so close in recent years and it was reliability that stopped them. The team came closest in 2016, it was leading for 23hrs 55mins until a failure happened on the penultimate lap. Porsche overtook them for victory, it was heartbreaking for the Japanese team. To add insult to injury the car took them over 11 minutes to finish the last lap which meant they were not even classified. In the race you have to complete the last lap in under 6 minutes by regulation 10.5 to be classed.

Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Le Mans rookie Fernando Alonso pilot the number eight car. Photo credit, Toyota WEC

In their #8 challenger, they have Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso, who is driving for them as well McLaren in Formula 1. Alonso has taken to endurance racing like a duck to water as it was his car that took victory in the first round of the World Endurance Series in Spa, Belgium. It was his first win since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix in F1. 

To have without a doubt the fastest car on the grid, rules restricting the limited opposition they have and an increased calibre of drivers is it just a matter of the #7 or #8 taking victory?

It would be embarrassing for the manufacturer to lose this year, they would become a laughing stock. If they fail to win I also see the end of the LMP1 Hybrid category. To have one team in that field is also just ridiculous. 

We’ll find out! Follow @PitCrew_Online as we’ll have commentary throughout,  and get the kettle on for the early hours. 

Porsche Carrera Cup GB – Knockhill

Cammish And Eastwood Clash As Tensions Grow In The Scottish Hills


The anticipation of two exciting races was fuelled in no small part by the unfolding championship battle between Charlie Eastwood (Redline Racing), Dan Cammish (Redline Racing) and Dino Zamparelli (JTR). While Eastwood and Cammish held the advantage with dropped scores factored in, all three needed to win at all costs to keep their title hopes alive. Behind and closer than ever, the remainder of the Pro category could see their opportunity for a first win getting nearer.

Against this backdrop, Knockhill produced two races that did not disappoint and provided arguably more excitement – and certainly more debate – than even rounds eight and nine. Cammish converted his pole position in round ten into a win in his traditional style, despite periods of firm pressure from Zamparelli behind. However, in round eleven, a clash between pole sitter Eastwood and the defending champion resulted in Cammish failing to finish, Eastwood losing three points and facing a ten-place grid penalty for round twelve.

In Pro-Am1, championship leader Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) once again shared a win and second with Alex Martin (Team Parker Racing), leaving the gap between the pair unmoved at a slender three points. John McCullagh (Redline Racing) claimed his second podium of the season in round ten, but a start line incident saw the 2015 Pro-Am2 champion sidelined for round eleven.

Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) took a pair of Pro-Am2 wins, his seventh and eighth of the season, to boost his championship hopes and move him to five points adrift of Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing), who came away with third and second places. Iain Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing) took a pair of category pole positions in his strongest showing to date, second and third keeping him within nine points of Jennings at the top of the table with four rounds to go.

Round ten

Anticipation was high for an entertaining race as Dan Cammish (Redline Racing) led the field around for the rolling start. From the very first corner the race was not to disappoint. Cammish made a good start, but team mate Charlie Eastwood’s was even better. As Eastwood positioned himself for a challenge, a hit from behind pushed him wide and left enough space for Dino Zamparelli (JTR) to move into second, the Bristol driver making his intentions clear from the off.

Also making the best of the start were local brothers Dan and Euan McKay (Redline Racing), Dan making the most progress into fourth from sixth, Euan up one place to fifth and pushing Dan hard. Losing out was Tom Oliphant (Redline Racing), shuffled down to seventh behind Lewis Plato (JTR). Their battle would build throughout the race, but at the front Zamparelli was inching up on Cammish with Eastwood close behind.

As Plato passed Euan McKay on the second lap, Cammish and Zamparelli were trading almost identical sector times while Eastwood settled into an almost lonely third place. The order was almost disturbed when Zamparelli lost time on his eighth lap to fall back into the clutches of Eastwood, allowing Cammish to slip away by just over one second. The following lap it was Eastwood’s turn to loose time at Chicane, giving Zamparelli some breathing space.

By lap 17, traffic was playing a critical part in the battle for the lead which Cammish had extended to around three seconds. First to arrive and faced with making his way through some good battles in the other categories, Cammish had to watch the gap to Zamparelli reduce to just seven tenths of a second. However, back onto a clear section of track, the reigning champion pulled back half a second in just one lap and took the flag with over two seconds in hand from Zamparelli.

Eastwood held on to third, but behind two JTR drivers had been on the move. Plato passed Dan McKay for fourth on lap 11 at Taylors after having posted fastest lap of the race. Tio Ellinas also had strong pace and set about passing Euan McKay on lap 15 into Duffus Dip and Dan McKay into Taylors on lap 26. Separating the JTR team mates was Oliphant in fifth, unable to continue his fight back past a defensive Plato.

Local driver Ross Wylie (Slidesports) had a good race with Jamie Orton (IN2 Racing), coming through as second-placed Rookie in ninth. Tom Wrigley (IN2 Racing) was not able to celebrate his birthday in race one at least, contact with Matt Telling (Welch Motorsport) on lap 31 putting both drivers out at Clarks.

In Pro-Am1, all three drivers ran close together for the every one of the 32 laps, the win going to Alex Martin (Team Parker Racing) who relentlessly edged away from Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) in second. Shadowing Sherwood in third was the returning John McCullagh (Redline Racing), happy to take his second podium in three races on a circuit that has not been the kindest to him in the past.

Pro-Am2 once again provided some of the closest racing, Iain Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing) holding the lead from Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) away from the start with David Fairbrother (Slidesports) passing Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing) for third. Jennings came back into a podium position after Fairbrother, on his first visit to Knockhill, ran through the gravel at McIntyre and dropped back.

While Kyle-Henney took Dockerill for a lead he would maintain to the flag, Jennings was in a wheel-to-wheel battle with Telling for the final podium position. On lap 16 Telling passed to take the position, only for Jennings to reclaim it the very next lap. A spin into Chicane on lap 20 for Telling put paid to the battle and allowed Rupert Martin (Team Parker Racing) to claim fourth.

Round eleven

Eastwood made a good start from pole position, Cammish tucking in behind off the line to follow his team mate into Duffus. Sprinting away from the second row was Zamparelli, the JTR driver passing Oliphant who was slow to pick up momentum. Behind, Wylie was squeezed onto the grass as he left the line and spun, collecting an unfortunate McCullagh and putting both drivers out of the race.

At the end of lap six the safety car pulled in, Eastwood looking to make a break but with Cammish pushing him all the way. Within three laps Eastwood had posted fastest lap to edge away from Cammish as Zamparelli inched ever closer to Cammish. The contest looked to have stabilised until on lap 20 Eastwood began to lap traffic.

As the leader negotiated the cars ahead, Cammish began to apply the pressure and Eastwood’s defence backed the pair into Zamparelli. With each fighting for their own championship, Zamparelli made a move on Cammish at Taylors, a move which almost saw Zamparelli take to the grass on his run to the line and lose momentum. This freed Cammish to resume his assault on Eastwood, and left Zamparelli to defend from a fast approaching Oliphant.

By lap 30, Cammish was making his most concerted effort yet to dislodge Eastwood from the lead, once again allowing Zamparelli and now Oliphant to close back in. Cammish gained a run on Eastwood into Clarks on the penultimate lap, drawing alongside the leader on the exit. Eastwood exited wide, causing Cammish to run onto the grass and make contact with the barriers, ending his race. After an inquiry that went to the stewards, it was decided Eastwood should be handed a 10-place grid penalty for round twelve and be docked three championship points.

Eastwood recovered to defend from Zamparelli who had inherited the momentum, Zamparelli in turn running wide at Taylors on the run to the flag and causing Oliphant, who had committed to a move around the outside, onto the grass. Oliphant recovered, albeit with an advertising hoarding wrapped around the front of his car, to take his second podium of the season.

Behind the leaders, the battle was no less fraught. By lap 15 Plato had caught Euan McKay, bringing Dan McKay and Ellinas with him. As the quartet scrapped, Dan McKay ran around the outside of Plato at Taylors for sixth, losing the back end of the car on the exit and only just saving the slide before reaching the grass on the inside. Ellinas inherited sixth position and Wrigley seventh after a move into Duffus Dip as Plato dropped to eighth in avoidance. Dan McKay recovered to ninth, before running through the gravel at McIntyre on the same lap.

Plato retook seventh from Wrigley, and began to close on Ellinas who was fighting hard with Euan McKay. As Plato put Ellinas under pressure, contact between the Cypriot and Euan McKay ahead put McKay into the gravel and earned Ellinas a 15 second penalty and the loss of three championship points.

After the early exit of McCullagh, Pro-Am1 became a straight fight between Martin and Sherwood. Sherwood had made the best of the start to take the lead from Martin, although by lap 12 the gap was down to just two seconds. As Martin closed, he ran wide at Clarks, just managing to recover but handing Sherwood the win.

Kyle-Henney took the lead in Pro-Am2 at the start after pole-sitter Dockerill was forced to avoid the start line incident. Jennings came through for second with Dockerill third and Fairbrother fourth. The four drivers were covered by less than three seconds, but that order remained to the flag with Martin fifth and Telling sixth. Dockerill’s weekend was enough to earn him the ‘Driver of the Weekend’ award, and Asset Advantage Racing ‘Team of the Weekend’.

As the championship crescendo continues to build, follow the battles at @CarreraCupGB on Twitter and /CarreraCupGB on Facebook.

Championship positions

Overall:
Charlie Eastwood  Redline Racing  180
Dino Zamparelli  JTR  172
Dan Cammish  Redline Racing  152

Pro-Am1:
Justin Sherwood  Team Parker Racing  89
Alex Martin  Team Parker Racing  86
Graeme Mundy  Team Parker Racing  48

Pro-Am2:
Shamus Jennings  G-Cat Racing  85
Peter Kyle-Henney  IN2 Racing  80
Iain Dockerill  Asset Advantage Racing  76

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

Photographs courtesy of Porsche Carrera Cup GB (c)

©2014-2024 ThePitCrewOnline