The preview: Q&A on the Mexico City E-Prix
The 2.606-kilometer (1.619-mile) circuit, which hosts race three of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, runs through the famous Foro Sol baseball stadium. The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team fields two Porsche 99X Electric in Mexico City. The all-electric racing cars featuring a Weissach-developed power train will be driven on the shortened Formula 1 circuit by André Lotterer (GER/#36) and Pascal Wehrlein (GER/#94).
This classic race weekend with just one race poses no less of a challenge for drivers and teams than the season-opening doubleheader event was. “We have very little time to sort certain things out, and there are no second chances,” says Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E. “We know we’re up against strong opposition, who we certainly don’t underestimate. Still, our clear goal is to fight for victory in Mexico.”
Florian Modlinger (Director Factory Motorsport Formula E)
The season-opening races in Diriyah were your first at the helm of the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team. How was it?
“It was great to see how hard the team worked through the night to come back strong for race 1 the next day. We analysed many things and came to the right conclusions. Looking ahead to Mexico and the rest of the season, I’m thrilled to be working with such a highly motivated team.”
What worked well in Diriyah and what didn’t? What was your main focus in preparing for Mexico?
“Essentially, the technical and operational aspects such as reliability, car preparation and the event procedures went well. What we need to improve on is the qualifying speed so that we can get both of our drivers into the shootout. Another important issue in race 1 was energy management. We managed to improve this significantly for race 2, but we still have a lot of work to do to find even more potential.”
What are your thoughts on the new regulations, particularly in qualifying and the additional race time after a safety car phase?
“The extra time worked really well in the first race. It didn’t work out in race 2 because the race finished with a late safety car phase. That was unfortunate for André and Pascal and denied them the chance of achieving a better result. I think the new qualifying mode is excellent. It’s not only fairer on the drivers but the one-on-one duels make it more spectacular for the spectators at the track and for TV viewers. All in all, a big improvement.”
André Lotterer (Porsche works driver, #36)
You started the new season much better than last year. Are you satisfied with the first races?
“The qualifying went well in Diriyah and we had a chance for a podium spot in both races. That was something positive. But in the first race, I lost ground due to energy management issues, in the second race the safety car ruled out a final attack. Without the safety car, the rest of the race would definitely have been as thrilling. In that respect, I left Diriyah with somewhat mixed feelings, but at least I took a few points home with me.”
How do you like the rule changes, especially the new qualifying format?
“The new format is definitely a big step forward to ensure better parity between competitors. You get into the flow better, and the head-to-head duels through to the pole position finale are exciting for teams and drivers – and for fans, too, of course.”
What are you expecting in Mexico?
“I secured pole position in Mexico in my first Formula E season. It would be fantastic if I could do that again. Obviously, we want to win every race, that’s our goal. But in this fiercely competitive world championship, it’s also important to earn points from every race to ultimately be in the running to win the title.”
Pascal Wehrlein (Porsche works driver, #99)
Your points tally in Diriyah didn’t meet your expectations. Were there any positive aspects?
“We were consistently fast. The only thing that didn’t work out perfectly for me was the qualifying sessions. In the first race, we learned a great deal about energy management and we implemented these findings in the second race. Had the safety car not been deployed shortly before the flag, I’m sure we could’ve gained a few positions because we made very good use of our energy. Although Diriyah is not particularly relevant for the circuits we’ll compete on this season, we’ve still gained some insights.”
In season 7, the Mexico E-Prix was held in Puebla. Would you have preferred to go back to Puebla to race?
“First and foremost, I’m looking forward to returning to Mexico. I have good memories of this country. I’ve always been fast there. Of course, I wouldn’t have minded racing in Puebla again because we were strong there last year. But I’m certain we’ll have a good package for Mexico City and that we’re serious contenders for victory there.”
What are your thoughts on this unique racetrack and the fans? Does the high altitude bother you?
“The track is fantastic. I’m really looking forward to that. Turns five and six before the longest straight are particularly important because it’s a good place to overtake at the end. Turn 16 is also critical. It’s a sweeping right-hander that can’t be taken at full speed and is tough on the tyres. Mexicans are avid motor racing fans. There’s a real arena feeling in the infield of the stadium. And as far as altitude is concerned, you’re out of breath a little faster and the altitude affects the car setup, but we know this from Puebla.”
The Formula E race will be contested on a shortened 2.606-kilometre version of the Formula 1 circuit in the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, a racetrack built in honour of Mexican racing legends Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez. The 16-turn circuit lies at an altitude of 2.285 metres and is the only permanent racetrack on this season’s Formula E calendar. The racetrack is virtually unchanged compared to season 6 when Formula E last raced in Mexico City. The corner combination at the end of the back straight is exceptional: it runs through the Foro Sol baseball stadium. “The race in Mexico has always been a great experience,” says André Lotterer. “The fans create a fantastic atmosphere and the track should suit our car well.”
Live TV and Internet coverage
The worldwide broadcasting schedule of the Formula E event in Mexico City is available on: https://www.fiaformulae.com/watch/ways-to-watch.
Porsche Taycan Turbo S as the new safety car
Porsche is committed to Formula E safety: With the all-electric Taycan, the sports car manufacturer supplies the official safety car this season and underlines the importance of Formula E for Porsche Motorsport. 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 – 21.9 kWh/100 km, CO₂ emissions* combined (WLTP) 0 g/km, Electric power consumption* combined (NEDC) 26,0 kWh/100 km, CO₂ emissions* combined (NEDC) 0 g/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 Mexico City will be available on the Porsche press database on 12 February CET. The report from race 3 follows on 13 February CET. 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 Formel E Media Guide. The content will be regularly updated over the course of the season and expanded with additional interactive material.
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. This marks the third season for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team campaigning the Porsche 99X Electric. NetApp joins the team as the 17th partner. The US company provides support in the areas of data storage and data management at the racetracks and in the development workshops in Weissach.
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)