Formula E continues its expansion drive
Pascal Wehrlein, the winner of both races Diriyah, travels to São Paulo as the leader of the drivers‘ classification (80 points) ahead of Mexico-winner Jake Dennis (62 points). After clinching his first victory as a Porsche works driver in Cape Town, António Félix da Costa ranks fourth in the standings with 46 points. In the team championship, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team tops the leaderboard with 126 points ahead of Envision Racing (84) and Avalanche Andretti (80).
Q&A on the São Paulo E-Prix
Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E
After five races in a fortnightly rhythm, you had a longer break before São Paulo. How did that affect the intensity of your training?
“Up until now, everything has been one event after another without a break. Everyone had to work at their maximum potential. As a team, we had to work with total concentration and make major progress from race to race to stay competitive. We succeeded in doing that. We went into the four-week break to recharge our batteries and work harder on improving the potential of our Porsche 99X Electric.”
How ready were you to take a break?
“After such a demanding start to the season with five races within six weeks in four different cities, some time to breathe was very welcome. But we’re still on a steep learning curve with our new car. The break gave us the chance to make further progress. Having time off is definitely necessary, too, because our competitors have also used that time to continue working on their packages.”
How would you sum up the first races of the season? What went well and where do you still see potential?
“Our team had a very successful start to the season. Three wins in five races – that’s something everyone in the team and in our development squad can be proud of. Our strengths so far this season have been the execution itself and the race performance. We’ve made fewer mistakes than the competition and have consistently called on our potential. We still have work to do in qualifying. We definitely have some reserves left there to tap into. If we were to start from the front, that would make things a lot easier for us. But we’ve gradually improved in recent weeks on that front, too.”
António Félix da Costa, Porsche works driver (#13)
Was Cape Town the best of your 101 Formula E races so far and what makes your victory there so special?
“There have been a few races in my Formula E career where I’ve come from far down the field to the very front. Cape Town was definitely one of my best, I’d place it in my top 3. The fact that it was my first victory with Porsche makes it special, of course, especially because my start to the season wasn’t easy. But with the support of my team, I fought my way out of that slump. I’m firmly convinced that this has united the team even more and made us even stronger. I feel much more comfortable in my car and hope that we can now gain momentum and experience more races together like the one in Cape Town.”
You love being in Brazil. Where does this affinity for the country come from and how did you use your time in the leadup to the São Paulo E-Prix?
“Since Formula E doesn’t race in Portugal, São Paulo is something of a home race for me. I love Brazil. I race a stock car there every year, and I always get a very warm welcome from the fans. I’m not quite as popular with the drivers because I usually win or at least finish on the podium. Still, I get on well with everyone. We had a bit more time before São Paulo than before the previous races. This allowed us to dive a little deeper into the analysis to find out where we can still improve. In Hyderabad and Cape Town, we fared quite well on the new tracks. I don’t see why we shouldn’t manage something big in São Paulo as well.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94)
Did the longer break before São Paulo suit you or would you have preferred to get back into the car earlier after your retirement in Cape Town?
“If it were up to me, I would’ve climbed back in the cockpit the next day. After a poor result, you always want to get back into the car as quickly as possible to replace the bad with a good performance. Nevertheless, I was looking forward to the break. The start of the season was very demanding – with a race every two weeks in different time zones plus simulator work in between. I used the time off to review the races so far, analyse data and spend time with my family. In São Paulo, our team will be back on the grid with freshly charged batteries.”
You’re leading in the world championship. What are your thoughts about the first races of the season?
“Overall, I’m very happy with my start to the season. I won two races, finished second once and scored a load of points. I’m leading in the world championship, as is our team. That’s a tremendous success. We’ve evolved fantastically as a team. There’s an incredibly positive energy among us. We all have the same goal. Everyone works hard towards that, everyone wants to achieve the maximum result in every race. I’m very proud of the team and to be a part of it. As a driver, it gives me a lot of pleasure to show what we’re capable of in such a great car.”
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Pictures courtesy Porsche AG