The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is gathering momentum. With the Hyderabad E-Prix on 11 February, the innovative electric racing series celebrates its maiden outing in India. After a successful start to the season with two victories in Diriyah, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team heads to this premiere feeling very confident.
The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team will run two Weissach-developed Porsche 99X Electric racers at the new circuit in the capital of the state of Telangana. Pascal Wehrlein travels to Hyderabad as the leader of the drivers‘ championship in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. He looks forward to this new challenge as much as his teammate António Félix da Costa: For the Portuguese driver, the Hyderabad E-Prix marks the 100th Formula E race.
Porsche’s customer squad Avalanche Andretti also campaigns two Porsche 99X Electric. The racing outfit owned by the American motor racing legend Michael Andretti won the season-opening round in Mexico and currently leads the team classification of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship – just two points ahead of the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team. Thanks to Pascal Wehrlein, the crew from Weissach won the two night races in Diriyah. The Porsche 99X Electric has clinched victory in all three races contested so far in season 9.
The Hyderabad E-Prix is the first of four new races on the 2023 Formula E calendar. The other major cities to host the world’s first electric racing series for the first time are Cape Town (South Africa/25 February), Sao Paulo (Brazil/25 March) and Portland (USA/24 June).
Q&A on the Hyderabad E-Prix
Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E
How relieved is the team that you’ve had such a successful start to the season? And what are you expecting in Hyderabad?
“In Formula E, we’re all racing in completely new cars. So of course it’s great to have such a successful start to the new season. We’ve shown how strong we are on two completely different racetracks. Nevertheless, it’s no guarantee of success. We’ll have to improve from race to race and keep a close eye on the competition. In Hyderabad we’ll be facing the first of this season’s new racetracks. As always, we’re preparing meticulously and working on the weaknesses we’ve identified so that we can be competitive in India, as well.”
Expectations certainly rise with success. How do you deal with that?
“Our highest expectations are those we put on ourselves. We want to be at the top, we want to win races and secure podium finishes. And, of course, we want to have a say in the championship right to the end. That’s been our goal from the start and nothing has changed. We only have three races behind us, the season is still long. We’re working with the highest concentration from race to race. In Mexico City and Diriyah, we showed that our package is highly competitive in a variety of conditions. In Hyderabad, we’ll be attacking again.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94)
What a great start to season 9, two wins in Diriyah, leading the World Championship – how does that feel?
“Super. It was incredibly good to feel so much positive energy in the team after the two wins in Diriyah. Everyone has put a lot of commitment, heart and soul into this project, and this fantastic start to the season makes us all proud. Of course, there are still things we need to work on. We’re not the strongest in qualifying yet. Still, we’ve managed to put ourselves in a position where we can drive to the very front of the field. The car is still new to us and we’re getting better acquainted with it every weekend. We’ve done our homework for now, but just because we’ve won doesn’t mean we can take our foot off the throttle.”
What can you conclude from this almost perfect start to the season for the next races? And how much are you looking forward to India?
“First of all, it was crucial for us to put in a similarly strong performance on two completely different tracks. We’ve already done quite well in Mexico in the past, and the fact that we were able to confirm this in Diriyah is a huge relief for the team. That makes us optimistic for the future. Of course, we still have to find the optimum setup on every track, but the fact that our car ran so well in the first few races is sensational. I’m really looking forward to Hyderabad. I’ve never been to India. We’ll work hard to be successful there, as well.”
António Félix da Costa, Porsche works driver (#13)
In Hyderabad, you’ll be contesting the 100th Formula E race of your career. What does that mean to you?
“100 races in Formula E – that’s really crazy. They were very exciting years with a total of seven victories, sixteen podium finishes, eight poles and one championship title. That fills me with pride. I love Formula E and was there at the very first race. Last year we raced in Jakarta for the first time and I started from the front row. Maybe that’s a good omen. Either way, Hyderabad will be a very special weekend for me.”
What insights will you take to Hyderabad from Mexico and Diriyah and what do you expect from the Formula E premiere in India?
“We learned a lot in Mexico and Diriyah. I’m working very hard with my engineers to understand what steps we need to take next to ensure success in Hyderabad. India is a new country for me. I don’t think we should limit ourselves to just getting people excited about motor racing. We should also be raising awareness for sustainability and values like inclusion and diversity among the people who come to the racetrack.”
The Hyderabad E-Prix will be contested on a newly built racetrack on the outskirts of the bustling metropolis. The fast circuit built on the southern shore of Lake Hussain Sagar measures 2.816 kilometres in length and features long straights and 18 turns.
Live TV and Internet coverage
The worldwide broadcasting schedule of the Formula E event in Hyderabad is available at: https://www.fiaformulae.com/watch/ways-to-watch. The complete calendar of the 2023 ABB Formula E World Championship can be found here.