Formula E starts again tomorrow from Mexico, at 2pm local time, 9pm in Italy. The circuit in the country’s capital named after the Rodriguez brothers hosts the first of 16 races of the ninth season (two fewer than those originally scheduled), the first of the more compact and high-performance Gen 3 single-seaters (up to 322 km/h) and also the in which both Maserati, which returns to competitions and brings an Italian manufacturer to Formula E for the first time, and McLaren, another glorious brand that needs no introduction, make their debuts. The entry of these two manufacturers compensates for the departure of the three German premium brands (BMW, Audi and Mercedes), which withdrew from the zero-emission world championship between 2021 and 2022, entrusting Porsche with the mandate to represent the manufacturers of Germany.
Maserati benefits both from the experience of the Stellantis group, which has already won a lot with DS on the circuit, and from that of the former Venturi team from Monaco. The official tests that took place in Valencia in December were archived by the Trident manufacturer with the absolute best time conquered by Maximilian Günther (the fastest in 5 of the 7 test sessions) with the “type Folgore” in Blue livery. There are many unknowns of the season: in addition to the single-seaters, some rules have changed, the tire supplier has changed, strictly All Season (from Michelin to Hankook) and three nations are preparing to host Formula E for the first time. They are India (a “ bow” to Mahindra, one of the pioneers of the championship), South Africa and Brazil (a tribute to the two green and gold winners that the class has already had: Nelson Piquet jr and Lucas di Grassi). Italy continues to be there, even in addition to Dallara, a partner for the chassis since 2014, and Brembo, which is supplying the brakes for the fifth season: Rome will host the last two ePrixes in mid-July before the final double appointment at the end of the month in London.
There will be 22 starters, two less than possible because there are eleven teams registered, like last year. Mexico traditionally welcomes the event with great warmth and the racetrack has a layout (19 changes of direction for 2.63 km, about fifty meters longer) modified to allow for regeneration. The front engine adopted on the Gen3 is intended precisely for recovery only, at least 40% of the energy must be obtained in the race to reach the finish line.
It is the eighth time that Formula E has stopped in the Central American country: six times in Mexico City and one Puebla, when the Hermanos Rodrigiez racetrack had been transformed into a field hospital for covid. In Mexico Lucas di Grassi (now with Mahindra) won three times: twice on the most famous circuit, in one case even starting from 15th position, and once in Puebla. The only ones who can aspire to an encore in the capital are Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS) and Pascal Wehrlein (Tag Heuer Porsche): with Edoardo Mortara (now at Maserati), who won on the other track in 2021 in the second ePrix, there are three in Mexico.
Last year the German gave the Zuffenhausen-based company its first success in Formula E, which also coincided with his first victory. Porsche is confident and has hired the former Portuguese champion Antonio Felix Da Costa. Porsche would also win in Puebla: Wehrlein had crossed the finish line in the lead, only to be disqualified in favor of di Grassi for tire labeling. The recipe of Florian Modlinger, the 41-year-old German called by Porsche to lead the project in Formula E, is simple: “You need fast cars, a manufacturer capable of developing them, a team capable of working flawlessly in the race and two capable drivers to get the best out of the machine that is made available to them”, he smiles. So if it goes wrong… “This is a sport and I’m here to win, but I’m ready to take my responsibilities”.