Pascal Wehrlein dominated the Formula E season opener in Mexico City, leading home Sebastien Buemi, but is currently under investigation for an unspecified technical infringement.
The Porsche driver started from pole, making a clean getaway. Buemi, who started besides Wehrlein on the front row, had to fend off Maximilian Guenther’s play for second going into Turn 1.
The first change for the lead came on lap three when Wehrlein took the wider Attack Mode line, ceding position to Buemi who did the same on the following lap, but maintained the lead.
Five laps later, the race’s only safety car period came, as Buemi’s Envision Racing teammate Robin Frijns lost control on the exit of Turn 16, coming out of the Foro Sol stadium section, then smacking the Turn 17 wall. When the race resumed three laps l ater, Buemi took his remaining Attack Mode time, ceding the race lead once again to Wehrlein who was untroubled f or the rest of the race, eventually crossing the line 1.164s ahead of Buemi.
While it was a dominant win, being able to control the race from pole position provided the German with the most satisfaction.
“It was a pretty good day with pole position and the race win,” said Wehrlein. “I think our focus in the off season was especially on qualifying. That was one of our weaknesses in the last half of the season last year and I hope we did a good step forward. Let’s see if it’s just a Mexican topic or if we can confirm that in the next couple of events.
“Nevertheless, really happy about the pole position — probably as happy about the race win to be honest. The race was not an easy one. It probably looked easier than it was because I was leading almost the whole race and couldn’t save a lot of energy, just always a little bit to increase my targets.
“I saw Seb doing one mistake behind me which then opened up a gap and put him out of the slipstream and from there the race was a bit easier.”
Nick Cassidy took third in his first race for Jaguar TCS Racing, being the only driver in the top five to gain a spot in the race, having started fourth after a one-place grid penalty. He also set the fastest lap, being the only driver to break into the 1m14s during the race.
“I think it’s really hard at this circuit to stay close,” said C assidy. “The tires get very very hot. It’s very difficult to overtake and we were stuck. I think the grid position penalty probably really hurt me, but I can’t complain. It’s a nice start for us as a team.”
After his early flirtation with the podium positions, Guenther eventually finished fourth ahead of Mitch Evans who slipped back from the frontrunners but resisted a push from Jean-Eric Vergne in the latter stages of the race.
NEOM McLaren’s Jake Hughes split the two DS Pesnkes, taking seventh ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne, while Jake Dennis recovered from a dismal qualifying to finish ninth ahead of his Andretti Global teammate Norman Nato – although, as with Wehrlein, both Andretti cars’ results are dependent on a post-race investigation.
While Frijn’s shunt brought out the only safety car, it wasn’t the only incident in what was a rather tame race by Formula E’s standards. Abt Cupra’s Lucas di Grassi retired on the first lap after going off on the way into the stadium section, while Antonio Felix da Costa’s race ended two laps later as a result of suspension damage from contact with Nico Mueller, who was eventually the last finisher on the lead lap, beating only Dan Ticktum who finished off the pace and a lap down.