The preview: Q&A on the Diriyah E-Prix
The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, which includes 16 races in ten major cities, once again features a strong line-up with eleven teams and 22 drivers. Several new rule changes have been made this season for the race and most notably for the qualifying. The fight for pole position resembles a knock-out tournament with gripping one-on-one duels. Moreover, the maximum power has been increased in quali and attack mode.
Before tackling its third Formula E season, Porsche consolidated its management team: Florian Modlinger took over the position as Director Factory Motorsport Formula E at the beginning of the year. The 41-year-old Bavarian began his career in motorsport in 2005 and excelled in various roles including race engineer, development engineer and technical director. Under his direction, teams have won the driver and team titles in the FIA GT1 World Championship and the FIA World Rallycross Championship as well the driver, team and manufacturer crowns in the DTM. His most recent position was as technical director and director of operations at Abt Sportsline, where he was responsible for the technical and operational side of all motorsport projects.
Modlinger has high expectations for his first season with Porsche. “Looking at it from the outside, the team made great progress last season and is now heading into its third season as a highly motivated unit. The goals are very clearly to achieve consistently strong performances and win races,” he says. In addition to his work with the team, he is very much looking forward to the “exciting challenge of adding Formula E victories and titles to Porsche’s illustrious motorsport history. I’m convinced that everyone will do their best to achieve this common goal.”
Amiel Lindesay (Head of Operations Formula E)
How confident is the team as it heads into Porsche’s third Formula E season and what are the goals?
“We’re a strong team, which we underlined many times last season, so I’m feeling very optimistic. Our goal is clear: We want to win our first race this season and we’re also ready to fight for the title against strong opposition in this well-balanced world championship.”
In your bid for the title, what have you learned from last season’s fight and the test in Valencia?
“We learned a lot last season. During the prep work, we paid attention to many details and put things in place to ensure that mistakes from the previous season are not repeated. Of course, new software functions are always associated with certain risks. In this regard, the test in Valencia was very important for us to trial these innovations on the racetrack.”
You’re determined to notch up your first win as soon as possible. How does the team cope with this pressure?
“There’s always pressure in motorsport. We’re used to dealing with it. I’m sure that a certain amount of stress helps everyone concentrate more on the job at hand and to perform better.”
André Lotterer (Porsche works driver, #36)
What are you most looking forward to and what are your goals and expectations this season?
“We want to win races and fight for the world championship title. After a season of mixed fortunes, we now want to be consistently at the top and regularly score points. That’s what’s needed if we want to stay in contention for the title. I look forward to working with the team, getting back in the cockpit and having fun.”
What do you think of the racetrack and what is special about night races?
“The track isn’t a typical street circuit with 90-degree corners or chicanes after every straight. The corner combinations are very flowy. The fast section through turns 7, 8 and 9 is critical. You have to get it exactly right. In a night race, you can almost see better than in the daytime because you’re not bothered by sunstrike. The track is evenly lit, which is easier on the eyes. And the slightly cooler temperatures suit the tyres. I like driving under floodlights, I’m familiar with this from Le Mans.”
Pascal Wehrlein (Porsche works driver, #99)
What experiences will you take to Diriyah from your first season with Porsche?
“We’ve consolidated a lot as a team. While some of the races could have gone better, we learned a great deal and have undoubtedly grown stronger. We want to build on that this season. I’m looking forward to fighting together as a team and winning races. We’re competing on some new circuits, which I always find exciting. The rule changes will certainly have a positive impact and ensure that the competition is even fairer, which makes it more interesting.”
The sooner you score your first race win, the better your chances are in the fight for the world championship. Is that a lot of pressure?
“We have to be totally focussed from the first race and perform to the best of our ability. Then we’ll be fast and successful. I always put myself under a lot of pressure, anyway. I want to do my very best in every qualifying and race and always get the most out of myself. If I manage this and we can bring the full potential of our car to the track, we’ll definitely be among the frontrunners. I don’t mind the pressure. On the contrary, I look forward to the feeling of getting in the car, putting my foot down and doing what I love most.”
The Diriyah E-Prix is contested on a 2.495-kilometre street circuit with virtually the same layout as last season. Featuring 21 twists and turns, the demanding circuit runs past old fortifications and traditional mud-brick houses. One of the key passages is the section around turns 16 and 17 shortly before the long backstraight. Braking for turn 18 at the end of this straight offers the best chance to overtake. Turns 1 and 19 are also crucial for a fast lap time.
Live TV and Internet coverage
The worldwide broadcasting schedule of the Formula E event in Diriyah is available on: https://www.fiaformulae.com/watch/ways-to-watch.
Porsche Taycan Turbo S as the new safety car
The Porsche Taycan Turbo S celebrates its racetrack debut in Diriyah as the safety car in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Thanks to its driveability and safety as well as an output of up to 560 kW (761 PS; Taycan Turbo S: Electric power consumption* combined (WLTP) 23.4 – 22.0 kWh/100 km, CO₂ emissions* combined (WLTP) 0 g/km, Electric range* combined (WLTP) 440 – 467 km, Electric range* in town (WLTP) 524 – 570 km), Porsche’s first all-electric sports car is the ideal choice as a safety car in the first and only all-electric motorsport world championship. With Launch Control, the flagship model of the Taycan range accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 260 km/h.
The number 22 on the roof of the car is a salute to the 22 drivers who contest season 8 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. The striking paintwork incorporates the colours of all eleven competing teams as well as the FIA and Formula E colours. The design symbolises the commitment of everyone involved and the common path towards the future of all-electric motor racing as well as visual expressions of social values such as diversity and community.
The Media Service
The first photos from Diriyah will be available on the Porsche press database on 27 January. Race reports follow on 28 January (race 1) and 29 January (race 2). Further information about the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team will be posted live on the Twitter channel @PorscheFormulaE. All relevant information about the team, the drivers and the racing series can be found in the updated Porsche Formula E Media Guide. The content will be regularly updated over the course of the season and expanded with additional interactive material.
The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team heads into its third season supported by 16 partners. Eight of them are represented on the Porsche 99X Electric as on-car partners. Joining the team for the first time is the global brand and technology enterprise Henkel with its brand LOCTITE, the manufacturer of high-performance adhesives, sealants and epoxies. It supports the team at the racetracks and in the development workshops at Weissach. TAG Heuer, the Swiss manufacturer of luxury watches, has been the team’s title and timing partner right from the start. The company is involved specifically in the Connected Watch area and uses this as the basis for its ongoing collaboration as a partner of Porsche Motorsport.
Also onboard from the outset, Vodafone continues as the official communications partner. The simulation software specialist ANSYS is the technology partner. With its Mobil brand, ExxonMobil has been closely involved in the development of the Porsche 99X Electric as a technology partner. As a long-standing partner of Porsche Motorsport, the tyre manufacturer Michelin remains alongside Porsche in Formula E. The fashion company Hugo Boss is the global clothing partner of Porsche Motorsport and the team’s outfitter. In addition to its role as title sponsor of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, the Swiss energy and automation technology group ABB appears on the Porsche 99X Electric. As a technical partner for flame-retardant racing overalls as well as shoes and luggage, the squad is supplied by the sports lifestyle company Puma. The lighting manufacturer Trilux also joins the team as the lighting partner. Other partners supporting the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team are C. & A. VELTINS (brewery), Humbel Gear Technology (gear components), Hazet (tool supplier), Stilo (helmets), SACRED Coffee (coffee and tea) and Kärcher (cleaning technology).
The Porsche 99X Electric
Campaigning the Porsche 99X Electric, Porsche returned to open-wheel single-seater racing in 2019 after more than 30 years. The fully-electric racing car sporting the Weissach-developed Porsche E Performance Powertrain also serves as a development platform for the sports car manufacturer’s fully-electric production models. Energy management and efficiency are important factors for success in Formula E and in the development of production cars. For the 2021/2022 season, the 99X Electric has a maximum output of 250 kW in qualification mode and 220 kW (last season 200 kW) in normal race mode. Attack Mode boosts the output to 250 kW (last season 235 kW). Maximum recuperation is 250 kW; the usable battery capacity is 52 Kilowatt-hours.
Formula E is the world’s first fully-electric racing series bringing thrilling motorsport to people living in major cities. As an accelerator for innovative and sustainable technologies of mobility, it promotes the worldwide acceptance of electric vehicles with the aim to counteract climate change. The format is compact: practice, qualifying and race all take place on one day. Each race usually runs over 45 minutes plus one lap. Eleven teams tackle the 2021/2022 season with 22 drivers. This makes for interesting and hotly contested races. 2021 marks the third season for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team campaigning the Porsche 99X Electric.
Sixteen races in ten of the world’s biggest cities make up the provisional 2021/2022 calendar of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
Race 1 & 2
28 / 29 January – Diriyah (Saudi Arabia)
12 February – Mexico City (Mexico)
Race 4 & 5
9 / 10 April – Rome (Italy)
30 April – Monaco (Monaco)
Race 7 & 8
14 / 15 May – Berlin (Germany)
4 June – Jakarta (Indonesia)
2 July – Vancouver (Canada)
Race 11 & 12
16 / 17 July – New York City (USA)
Race 13 & 14
30 / 31 July – London (Great Britain)
Race 15 & 16
13 / 14 August – Seoul (South Korea)