The Autódromo Hermanos Rodrigues, which has hosted Formula E in the center of Mexico for five years, has been transformed into a hospital and a vaccinodrome in order to counter the health crisis. As a result, the teams have fallen back on the permanent circuit of Puebla, about a hundred kilometers away. A special experience, because in this context nobody was authorized to go and locate the places. Before arriving on site, no team had reliable information on the reality of the ground, its grain size or its abrasiveness, criteria which are structuring enough to define the best energy strategy in the race plan.
In addition, the final route was not known until three weeks before the first E-Prix, in order to allow the pilots to prepare for the simulator. Only two pieces of information were certain: the runway has not been resurfaced for a long time, and has not been used in recent months given the current situation. In other words that the route was green and the ground old. “It’s sure to change us from Monaco last month! »Commented several team managers, before the start. “But at least everyone will be housed in the same boat.”
Once there, the last doubts are lifted. counterclockwise, represents several challenges for the pilots but also for us “, indicates Jérôme Mondain, manager of Michelin in Formula E.” It is about a permanent course which uses a classic part but also partially an oval. It’s here first time that electric cars take a sharp bend, which further features grip changes and bumps. In addition, the high heat outside and the fact of being at an altitude of more than 2,100 m constitute an additional challenge for machines as well as for men. On the Michelin side, we are confident because our Pilot Sport EVs have always demonstrated extraordinary versatility, but we have all the same planned one additional set of tires per car (12 tires instead of 8 for the whole race weekend, Editor’s note), because we are still heading into the unknown. “It is true that tire will be at the center of the discussions throughout the weekend, but not for questions of grip or resistance to wear …
A first race for gum
During the two free practice sessions, the fact that the track has not been used for a long time is clearly visible. It’s a little ” holiday on ice In places, and the single-seaters often swerve impressively. We even saw cars going across the oval, in full acceleration but straight wheels … over time, the grip conditions improved, and the lap times also: almost 4 seconds apart. between the start of session number 1 and the end of second. But the surroundings of the circuit are dangerous: made of grass, they constitute a real trap.
But no one suspected that the first twist of the weekend would stem from a tire problem, or rather an administrative problem related to the tire. At Porsche, while we have been racing for two years after a first victory in Formula E, this Saturday June 19 seemed to be this long awaited day. Pascal Wehrlein had taken pole position, had made a successful start and was largely leading. During the E-Prix, he ceded his place of leader for only three laps to Max Günther’s BMW, before settling in the lead and passing the checkered flag as the winner. But the euphoria of this well-deserved victory will be short-lived. The two Porsches, those of Wehrlein and Lotterer will be disqualified for a problem of… declaration of tires. In other words, someone at Porsche forgot to give the FIA the barcode numbers of the tires used on the cars before the start. That doesn’t change the performance, or the fact that Wehrlein was the fastest, on a regular basis. In Formula E, everyone has the same tires and the minimum regulatory pressure (1.3 bar) is checked on the grid.
Therefore, the disqualification of Porsches appears to be disproportionate. So badly accepted that the German manufacturer to appeal decision to FIA (the result should be known before the races in New York, in three weeks). In the meantime, it’s the Brazilian pilot Lucas Di Grassi (Audi) who takes the victory on the green carpet, in front of his teammate René Rast. We will remember that Wehrlein, then at Mahindra, had already lost an E-Prix of Mexico which seemed to him promised two years ago, by lacking energy during the last meters of the race. A fact of the race that had already benefited Di Grassi, who signed his 11th last weekendth victory in the discipline.
A second more interesting race
The next day, the track is erased, the pilots have gained confidence. As with every double header, there is only one free practice session in the morning, before qualifying at noon. The pace on the track is much faster, and the weather seems to be warmer than the day before. At the top of the starting grid, we find more or less the same helmets as the day before, this time with Rowland in pole position ahead of Wehrlein. In the race, there is a lot more animation, especially in the peloton. Racing strategies have changed, and the drivers at the forefront very quickly take their first Attack mode, whose trigger zone is very penalizing (and the dangerous exit). In this little game, several pilots lose at least three places each time, then move up the rankings.
But the Energy management award will go to Edoardo Mortara, parts 4th and who will manage to take the lead soon enough. But being the leader can mean spending a lot of energy… A situation which will be handled very well by the Venturi pilot, who will take cover almost three seconds from Wehrlein, who will not manage to multiply the attacks. On the other hand, behind, the changes of position will be numerous, and the friction too. No safety car (unlike the day before, with 12 minutes of race neutralization) but several withdrawals. Mortara, imperial on Sunday, June 20, will end up crossing the finish line in the lead, in front of Wehrlein, which will again be penalized (5 s and will therefore finish 4th) for not having used the full power of his FanBoost for lack of energy (a fault that is not his responsibility).
A weekend to forget for the German-Mauritian driver, who wins the first E-Prix of the weekend, climbs on the podium of the second, and who sees himself dispossessed of his position by elements external to his driving. Finally, we will note the first podium (2th place) of Nick Cassidy, rookie of the discipline, who was present all weekend, in front of Rowland, good 3th. But the best operation is the one performed by Edoardo Mortara, 3th in the first race and winner the next day, from the 11th to 1time place of general classification of Drivers. On the Manufacturers’ side, Mercedes is still leading the way, despite the 2th failed race by Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne.
The next two rounds of the Formula E world championship will take place in New York on July 10 and 11.
Qualifications (super pole for the first 6):
- P. Wehrlein (Tag Heuer Porsche) 1’23”780
- O. Rowland (Nissan-e.dams) 1’23”838
- J. Dennis (BMW I Andretti) 1’23’’879,
- J.E. Vergne (DS Techeetah) 1’24’’282
- M. Günther (BMW i Andretti) 1’25’’095
- E. Mortara (Rokit Venturi Racing) 1’27 ” 217
- L. Di Grassi and 47’40”7722
- R. Rast at 0”497
- E. Mortara at 2”774
- 4. A. Sims at 10”443
- 5. J. Dennis at 11”473
- 6. AF Da Costa at 11”624
- S. Vandoorne at 12”022
- M. Evans at 12”351
- N. De Vries at 12”936
- A. Lynn à 13’’154.
FanBoost : Da Costa, Vandoorne, Bird, De Vries, Di Grassi. MT in the top 10: R. Rast 1’25”531
Qualifications (super pole for the first 6):
- O. Rowland (Nissan-e.dams) 1’23”579
- P. Wehrlein (Tag Heuer Porsche) 1’23”771
- Lynn (Mahindra Racing) 1’23’’823
- E. Mortara (Rokit Venturi Racing) 1’23 ” 886
- J.E. Vergne (DS Techeetah) 1’23’’950
- 6J. Dennis (BMW I Andretti) 1’24’’154,
- E. Mortara in 46’41”685
- N. Cassidy at 4”169
- O. Rowland at 6”912
- P. Wehrlein à 7”296
- J. Dennis at 9”986
- A. Lynn à 10’’630
- M. Günther à 10’’968
- JE Vergne at 21”111
- M. Evans at 21”261
- R. Rast à 21’’896 MT : R. Rast 1’25’’370
FanBoost : Da Costa, Vandoorne, Di Grassi, Wehrlein, De Vries. MT : R. Rast 1’25”370
Championships after nine races
Pilots: 1. E. Mortara 72, 2. R. Frijns 62, 3. AF Da Costa 60, 4. R. Rast 60, 5. M. Evans 60, 6. N. De Vries 59, 7. S. Vandoorne 54, 8. J. Dennis 54, 9. O. Rowland 53, 10. JE Vergne 50, 11. S. Bird 49, 12. P. Wehrlein 48, 13. L. Di Grassi 39, 14. N. Cassidy 37 , 15. A. Sims 36, 16. A. Lynn 32, 17. N. Müller 30, 18. M. Günther 28, 19. A. Lotterer 18, 20. O. Turvey 13, 21. S. Sette Câmara 12 , 22. S. Buemi 11, 23. N. Nato 11, 24. T. Blomqvist 5, 25. J. Eriksson 0
Equipes : 1. Mercedes-Benz EQ 113 Pts, 2. DS Techeetah 110, 3. Jaguar Racing 109, 4. Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler 99, 5. Envision Virgin Racing 99, 6. Rokit Venturi Racing 83, 7. BMW i Andretti Motorsport 82, 8. Mahindra Racing 68, 9. TagHeuer Porsche Motorsport 66, 10.Nissan e.dams 64, 11. Dragon/Penske Autosport 42, 12. NIO 333 Racing 18.
To read on auto-moto.com:
The Formula E TV program
Formula E 2021 calendar: race dates and times
The summary of the Monaco round