The first race of the London E-Prix turned into the most eventful of the year, with the race restarting twice after a break due to two red-flag accidents. The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team put in a strong drive on the spectacular ExCeL Circuit in East London’s Docklands, part of which runs through an exhibition hall. The squad from Weissach had travelled to the double-header weekend as a promising title aspirant only to have adverse circumstances set it back in the bid for the title. At the wheel of his Porsche 99X Electric, Pascal Wehrlein was on course for the podium when he became entangled in an accident caused by another competitor and was thrown to the back of the field. He eventually finished ninth. Starting from P17, his teammate António Félix da Costa launched an impressive comeback, made up 15 positions and crossed the finish line in second place. However, a time penalty relegated him to 16th place and out of the points.
The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team heads into the final race of season 9 ranking third (241 points) thanks to its four wins this season and thus still has a chance to take home the team championship title. The other hot favourites for this accolade are Envision Racing (268), Jaguar (268) and Avalanche Andretti (236). In the drivers’ standings, Jake Dennis (213 points) claimed the world champion crown after his second place on Saturday. Pascal Wehrlein (148) ranks fourth with António Félix da Costa (93) in eighth. André Lotterer (GER/23) from Avalanche Andretti, who finished fifteenth in the race, lies in P19.
After a strong qualifying performance which saw him reach the duels, Pascal Wehrlein started the action-packed penultimate race of the season from P7. He had already worked his way up to fourth place when a competitor shunted his Porsche 99X Electric on the 29th of 38 laps, which catapulted him into the track barrier. As a result, he was thrown to the back of the field. Tackling the race from a lowly P17, his teammate António Félix da Costa put in one of the most spectacular pursuit races of the entire season. He advanced 15 positions and finished second, only to be robbed of his well-earned podium by a three-minute time penalty.
Comments on the London E-Prix, race 15
Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport: “Huge congratulations to Jake Dennis on winning the drivers’ world championship. We’re delighted that our customer team Avalanche Andretti took this title with the Porsche 99X Electric that we developed. This success is the result of the very open and constructive cooperation during our first season together.”
Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E: “Congratulations to Jake Dennis and our customer team Avalanche Andretti for winning the drivers’ world championship title. It was a difficult result for our team to digest today after a sensational performance by our drivers, which would have been enough for a podium or top-5 result. Pascal was the unwitting victim of a rival’s accident, which damaged his car and threw him far down the field. Antonio finished in second but was subsequently given a three-minute penalty, which is difficult for us to comprehend and accept. He suffered tyre damage due to debris on the track, which caused the tyre pressure to fall below the prescribed minimum. Although the damage was definitely inflicted on us from the outside and was not our fault, we were penalised and our work and good result on the track were not rewarded. In the last race tomorrow, we’ll fight hard to get the maximum for our team. To do that, we have to move in the right direction in qualifying. Our race pace today once again showed how competitive we are. We can build on that.”
António Félix da Costa, Porsche works driver (#13): “What a crazy day. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the right tyre strategy in qualifying and the result was P17. We tried something different this time but it didn’t work out. The race was incredible. From P17 to P2 – that was one of my best Formula E races. Towards the end, there was a lot of debris on the track and I got a slow puncture on the right front tyre. I managed to get the car over the line but I was handed a penalty because there wasn’t enough air in the tyre. To me, it seems like a really unfair decision because we didn’t try to take advantage of it as a team. We were penalised for something out of our control. I would have liked to support the team with this podium result in the fight for the world title.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94): “Today could’ve been a successful day for us. Our pace in the race was very good. We worked very well with António as a team but because of the crash, which was not my fault, my race was virtually over. I also had to carry out a nose change before restarting the race, which means I had to rejoin in last place. That was a decision by the race control that I didn’t understand, as they allowed half the field to drive with a broken nose. It has really hurt our title chances.”