Wehrlein managing expectations despite Formula E season opener victory

Pascal Wehrlein claimed the first victory of Season 10, signifying a promising start to the Formula E campaign for Porsche

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Pascal Wehrlein enjoyed a lights-to-flag victory in the 2024 Mexico City E-Prix, converting pole position into the win, but the Porsche driver was quick to temper expectations for the Formula E season.

The German did to well to maintain the lead for the majority of the race, slipping to second only when taking Attack Mode, in a race characterised by careful energy management, with Wehrlein working hard to maintain a steady advantage over second-placed Sebastien Buemi.

“It was a tough race, because we were leading most of the race, and actually that’s not so efficient on energy,” reflected Wehrlein post-race.

“But for me, when I took over the lead, every lap was more or less like a qualifying lap to try and maximise my minimum speed. I saw that Seb [Buemi] made a small mistake behind me, which opened a small gap for me and from then I think it was pretty controlled.”

Wehrlein‘s Mexico City victory is a triumph reminiscent of the strong start to the season that the German enjoyed last year. A second place finish at the 2023 Mexico City E-Prix was succeeded by back-to-back race wins at the double-header in Diriyah, handing Wehrlein an early championship lead. 

It was a lead that Wehrlein eventually lost. Jake Dennis – in the Porsche-powered Andretti – ultimately took home the title, with Wehrlein finishing the season in fourth. The scars of 2023 linger for Wehrlein, who took a cautious approach in celebrating his season opener victory.

“It’s definitely great to start the season like this, as last season – especially the second half of the season – was a bit frustrating,” said Wehrlein

“We [Porsche] stick together, we try to improve all of our weaknesses, and I think to kick off the season like this is great. But now we need to continue and we need to keep pushing so that we don’t suffer the same issue as last season.” 

Buemi hoping for a penalty

Sebastien Buemi at times challenged for the win, but couldn’t convert these attempts into anything more than a P2 finish. The Envision driver briefly held the race lead, jumping Wehrlein when the Porsche driver took Attack Mode. Ultimately, it was a position that Wehrlein was able to claw back. 

Buemi took a more cautious approach to the race, a strategic move at odds with Wehrlein’s ‘full send’ stance. This was a move informed by the knowledge that Wehrlein was under investigation for a technical infraction, with the stewards due to make a decision following the conclusion of the race. 

“Pascal [Wehrlein] was fast,” reflected Buemi. “I knew he was under investigation, so I didn’t want to try too much. So, happy with that P2. And if it becomes something better, then we will be happy with that as well.”

Sebastien Buemi, Envision Racing

A strong Jaguar debut for Cassidy

His first race for Jaguar saw Nick Cassidy round out the podium in third place — two positions ahead of teammate Mitch Evans. Cassidy began the race in P4, leap-frogging Maserati’s Max Gunther to take third. 

“It’s not been an easy weekend, but the team has been really awesome with me though,” said Cassidy after the race. “Hopefully this is the start of something quite cool, and hopefully we can keep improving, but it was a great race.”

The race weekend got off to a stilted start for Cassidy, who was only thirteenth fastest in FP1. The second practice session was a little more promising, with Cassidy fourth quickest, but the Kiwi was out-performed by the other Jaguar.

“Coming into the weekend I was quite confident,” stated Cassidy. “But I must say with FP1 FP2 I thought, you know, I’m in for a difficult weekend so this recovery was really nice.”

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