Katy Fairman looks at what we learned during an action-packed Mexico City E-Prix…
Evans dodges the Mexican Madness
Mitch Evans managed to steer clear of trouble during a chaotic Mexico City E-Prix to secure only his and Jaguar’s second-ever Formula E win. In a drive that has been hailed as ‘one of the most dominant wins Formula E has ever seen’, Evans passed pole-sitter Andre Lotterer in the first few corners from second on the grid and was then able to pull away.
From the lead of the race, Evans kept his nose clean while those around him were losing theirs, and he went on to finish the race an impressive 4.2 seconds ahead of Antonio Felix da Costa in second place.
Evans leaves Mexico City as the championship leader, a first for him during his Formula E career, and having shown great promise during the first third of the season (he has a pole position, two podiums and a win already) – is it too soon to call him a championship favourite?
From Pole to Pain for Porsche
Andre Lotterer made history for Porsche earlier in the day by taking his and the team’s first-ever pole position in Formula E. Everything looked to be going so well for the team in only their fourth Formula E race to date, so naturally, with it being Formula E everything fell apart for them pretty quickly once the race began.
Lotterer got off to a tricky start, almost making contact with Evans before the Jaguar driver drove off into the distance. Upon returning to the circuit, Lotterer then received a nudge from the Virgin of Sam Bird which damaged his bodywork.
Like Jean-Eric Vergne in Santiago, Lotterer deliberately touched the wall in an attempt to dislodge the damaged bodywork, but in doing so, collected a chunk of advertising banner in the process which made matters worse. With visible damage to the front-right of his Porsche, and plumes of thick white smoke billowing out from underneath, Lotterer was shown the black flag with an orange disc and was instructed to pit immediately. Unfortunately, that proved to be the end of this race.
His team-mate, Neel Jani, had another disappointing race finishing in 16th place, the last of all classified drivers. With Lotterer unable to convert pole position into a points-finish, and Jani still yet to score at all, the day proved to be another blend of highs and lows for the German manufacturer.
Buemi ends his points drought
After failing to score a single championship point in the opening three races, Sebastien Buemi finally ended his point-less run with an assured drive to pick up the 26th podium of his career. The result comes at a great time for Buemi as some had begun to doubt whether the former Formula E drivers’ champion would ever get back to the dominance he once displayed (Buemi still holds the records for most-wins in Formula E with 13).
It is fair, however, to say that this podium was gifted to Buemi after several other front runners including Sam Bird and Stoffel Vandoorne ran into trouble during the race. Nonetheless, it was a confidence-boosting performance from Buemi and he’ll head to Marrakech with plenty of positives to take from Mexico City.
Let the car, see the wall
The 2020 Mexico City E-Prix will go down in history as not only a masterclass on how to dominate an E-Prix but also as the race in which almost every driver had sort of prang with one wall or another. From Bird and Vandoorne getting onto the marbles and slamming into the same spot just laps apart, or cars clipping advertising banners and accidentally attaching it to the rear of their cars, most of the grid had some kind of altercation with the walls during that E-Prix.
Mercedes’ Nyck de Vries was one such driver who had a bizarre moment with just over half the race distance completed. He lost control, in what looked like a lock-up, during the entry into Turn 1 but his front wheels just seized up whilst the rears were spinning like crazy.
The move unintentionally caused de Vries to shunt into Robin Frijns who was just following the racing line. Poor de Vries struggled to remove the car from the escape road he had run into and did not finish the race. The incident proved worrying but is believed to be totally unrelated to the software glitch that saw Daniel Abt suffer a 20G crash at a different part of the track earlier in the day.
Good day, bad day
It was a day of highs and lows for most of the Formula E grid in Mexico City. From good qualifying to disastrous results during the race or vice-versa, most of the grid had a fairly inconsistent day around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Arguably, only Mitch Evans can be completely satisfied with his day’s work.
Although at moments, it appeared Techeetah were giving off more of the ‘trouble in paradise’ vibes, they actually proved to be the most consistent team on the grid and secured both a second and fourth-place finish. Mahindra had a nightmare as both their cars had to have their gearboxes opened and inspected after trouble with Jerome D’Ambrosio’s car earlier in the weekend. Both Wehrlein and d’Ambrosio were forced to start from the back of the grid as a result, but were able to fight their way through to pick up a hugely respectable 10th and 11th place finish.
With only 16 of the 24 drivers on the grid classified, the race proved a shocker for many drivers and teams but as ever Mexico City provided us with another massively entertaining race.
Formula E will be back in just two weeks’ time with the return of the Marrakesh E-Prix.