04 Apr, 2017

In quotes: Julius Baer Mexico City ePrix

It was a frantic, non-stop rollercoaster of a race, in which a new record was set for the winner’s lowliest starting position. But that doesn’t even start to tell the whole story of the 2017 Julius Baer Mexico City ePrix.

So here, in their own words, is what the drivers made of the race:

 

1st Lucas di Grassi, Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport

“What an incredible change of fate, but actually that’s what Formula E represents, there are such ups and downs. You can have a bad weekend or good weekend - the level of the drivers is so high. Somebody crashed into my back, broke the rear wing and there was a safety car. I came back and was running last, and then the safety car came in about lap 18, by that moment when I did the stop after the safety car had been out - I had a 25-second lead to the next car when they exited the pits with half a race to go. I thought I could fight for the win. I managed to open a gap, keep on just using regen, just trying to be as energy efficient as possible, just focussing on my race as much as possible until the last corner and then just celebrated like crazy. For me it was one of the best races of my life, in terms of how I drove, how energy efficient I had to be, so I’m very pleased.”

 

2nd Jean-Eric Vergne, TECHEETAH

“I have very mixed emotions, I think this race was ours - 100 per cent. What [Jerome] D’Ambrosio did was totally unacceptable, he just doesn’t know how to defend, he crashed too many times into me, forced me to go off the track - so I’m not a fan. The marshals are sometimes very tough and here he pushed me three times off the track, touched my rear wheels sometimes and nothing happens. He changed direction many times, so I’m very frustrated but on the other hand I’m happy that I’m here for the championship. We started very far away but I know I’m in the right team with the right car to win the championship. I think we’re coming back a little bit better and we’re getting stronger every race as a team.”

 

3rd Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing

“It was a good race for TV and for Formula E - a race like this was fantastic; all the drama, lots of things going on, ups and downs, you don’t know what’s going to happen next. I think it’s really good for the championship. I was happy with the move I pulled on Jerome. I watched the battle between Jerome and JEV and I was in the mix as well. We were lapping slower going flat out pretty much, and in the beginning of the first stint, because of the defending, that’s how Lucas was able to keep running away. He must’ve been laughing in the car. The team have done a good job, we struggled in FP2, to come back with a third and sixth place is pretty strong.”

 

4th Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing

“Our pace was great from the start, trying to avoid the mayhem was not easy – it was crazy from that point – but to have both cars in the points consistently through the race was great. We opted to do different strategies and fortunately it worked out a bit better for me. In comparison to the other cars our pace seemed very competitive. I tried to avoid the collision between Prost and Heidfeld – but I was collected by Rosenqvist and I don’t know how the car survived! But a bit of luck helped us for once and I managed to come away with fourth, which is massive!”

 

5th Nico Prost, Renault e.dams

“I had a big fight on my hands today and it was a tough race. I’m under investigation; I understand why because there was some small contact made but I don’t think I’m responsible for it. I really tried to avoid it, I was on the curves but Nick didn’t leave me much space, so he really closed the door. Otherwise, it was a good race and I’m happy with the result so far. It’s a very tight track, there was a lot of contact in the race but that’s racing…it’s the same for everyone. The straights are not very long so it’s a bit tricky to overtake here. But the changes that have been made are good, so I really enjoyed racing on this circuit this year. At the end, even if we were quick in FP1, I started to struggle in FP2 and the car was not very good. During qualifying, the red flag didn’t help but even without it, I wouldn’t have done a massive result so…We have to understand why this weekend wasn’t that good for us.”

 

6th Jose Maria Lopez, DS Virgin Racing

“I’m disappointed. There are no words that anyone can say today that will make me feel a bit better, but I have to be realistic. I have to be objective and take the positives: the facts that I fought for pole position, the fact that I led most of the way. I had the pace, I felt that I was stronger than the guys behind me. I had 6 per cent more batter than Vergne and 20 per cent more than the cars in front, but at that point I had to pass D’Ambrosio if I wanted to win so I played my card, but I played it wrong, I touched the dust… Jerome is always a hard dog to pass – he’s ready to lose his race rather than let you pass. I took the risk and it didn’t went well, but I leave Mexico with my strongest race of the year. In only my fourth race in the series I showed that I can fight for wins and that’s very cool.”

 

7th Daniel Abt, Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport

* Sigh * “Well, I mean it was pretty frustrating starting from P18, when normally you should have a clear view into Turn 1. But this happens, I mean we tried to do our best, it was not so easy with all the safety cars going on and all the craziness, it was hard to overtake actually. I had Nico Prost around me, he is very difficult to overtake. First of all because his acceleration is good on the motor and then also he was very aggressive and kept pushing me into the grass. I think I was losing quite some time. In the end, to be honest gaining 11 positions is not something you should be mad about, but it could have been much better today.”

 

8th Adam Carroll, Panasonic Jaguar Racing

“I didn’t really notice it [the wobbly front wing] I was just hoping that I wouldn’t have to stop and change it. It just got a bit tight going into the Turn 3 chicane, everybody bunched up and I caught the back of Sebastien [Buemi], but thankfully his car was alright and so was mine. And then we came home with some points which was absolutely fantastic. I could hear the bang [as the two Mahindras collided] and everything went everywhere. I came out of that pretty badly because I couldn’t make it down the inside, so I had to go to the outside. But Rosenqvist carried on on three wheels and I got stuck behind him. The main thing for the team is that we scored points in our fourth race, we’ve got a lot of work to do, but it’s absolutely fantastic.”

 

9th Nelson Piquet Jr, NextEV NIO

“I screwed up in qualifying and the team screwed up in the race. We had a bad strategy, we had a pitstop problem and obviously Oliver [Turvey] had another problem as well, so I guess the only positive take from the weekend was Oliver managing to get pole position.”

 

10th Esteban Gutierrez, TECHEETAH

“It was a very challenging race day for me without knowing the car, without knowing the category. Everything was completely new, so yeah it was nice to finish in the points on my first ePrix. A good starting point, but definitely more and more positive results to come in the next few races.”

 

11th Robins Frijns, Andretti

“I think the race went pretty well. We had good pace, I gained a few positions at the beginning. The team made a mistake in the pitstop, because we were three seconds quicker. As said at the briefing it was 57 (seconds) and they changed it and we didn’t know. But yeah, after that again the pace was good and I was quicker than both Mahindras in front of me, I overtook [Felix] Rosenqvist. Then I had the drive-through penalty, so I dropped back. Without the drive-through penalty, I would have been P4 or P5.”

 

12th Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra

“The problems started at the pitstop. I was running P2 and in the end it would have easily been a safe P4, maybe P3 if Nico hadn’t crashed into me… The problem was that Andretti didn’t know that the pitstop time had changed. So when I came into the pitlane he [da Costa] was there where he shouldn’t have been and the rule in Formula E is that the guy in the fast lane has priority, so I needed to slow down behind him and this is why Bird jumped me. So then I was stuck behind da Costa and then the mess started. Even though I had more pace and more energy, it was impossible to overtake. Nico closed the gap quickly because we were held up, and to me it looked like he continued with his pace as if I was not there. He just crashed into me quite hard and for a moment I thought ‘it’s a big one but maybe I can catch it’ but it was not possible and then I was stationary in the middle of the circuit with other cars crashing into me, but luckily physically there is nothing wrong at all, the car was pretty much undriveable, but as there were only two laps to go I would finish the race and who knows if at the front something happens? It’s not what you wish for when you pit from P2, but in the end you have to take what you get?”

 

13th Jerome D’Ambrosio, Faraday Future Dragon Racing

“We had a really good strategy in place at the start of the race considering our qualifying results. We fought hard to stay in front, but I didn’t have enough power hold up my position and complete the race.”

 

14th Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams

“The race could have been good for us. We all know it’s difficult to overtake here, especially with so many safety cars. When I tried to use the FanBoost, Rosenqvist locked up both of his front tyres and Lopez spun. I just tried to avoid the accident and by doing this, I also spun. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s more or less what happened today. It’s been a bad weekend for us. The objective was not to lose too many points here, so of course it’s a big disappointment. I was quickest in FP1 and FP2 and we showed good pace but I was at a big disadvantage to be in Q1 as I cleaned the track for everyone. It was especially bad here, due to how windy the conditions were. I also had to avoid an unsafe release after my pit-stop, so I had to let three or four cars pass me.”

 

15th Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi

“Yeah, it was a difficult race. I had contact with Lucas at the beginning. Somebody pushed me from behind, so I had to stop and change my front wing. When I re-joined I tried to do a best lap in the race but I missed it by two tenths. It was a very good car but we didn’t show it in this race. Fortunately, we have the potential to be good for the next race.”

 

16th Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra

“I think the final accident that ended both mine and Nick’s race was just unfortunate. Nico and Nick had a collision and with Evans alongside I couldn’t really go anywhere so I got launched over Evans rear wheel and straight into Nick – it was really, really unfortunate.”

 

Ret Maro Engel, Venturi

“First of all, it was a great job from the team in qualifying, it was great to be effectively P2 in the end. The race was going well, going to plan, in the first long stint, everything was good. I was looking forward to making up some places but then I lost power. I first lost power at Turn 5 and 6, and then slowly but surely it depleted throughout the lap and I was down to like 100kW of power. Real shame, that’s my third technical DNF in a row and three times we had a chance to score real points. Today, looking at it, I was right behind Evans, so probably missed out on a top five, a real shame. Onwards and upwards, looking forward to Monaco.”

 

Ret Antonio Felix da Costa, Andretti

“It was a much better day today, much better Saturday than Buenos Aires. We qualified decently well, started P6, we benefited from a few penalties, so we were sitting in a good place to score some points. Good start, I kept position and I made a mistake and lost a few positions. But anyway, we had the pace, we came back to the front. We were running fifth and then my drive-shaft broke up. So, very unfortunate. We can’t seem to get a break of bad luck as a team, also we made a procedural mistake with both of the pitstops.”

 

Ret Loic Duval, Faraday Future Dragon Racing

“We were looking good and then the 12-volt battery shut down. Although we started from the back, I was the best on energy with the first car and the plan was to go flat-out on the second stint, which would have been good. I was right behind Prost and looking good, but unfortunately I didn’t reach the second car.”

 

Ret Oliver Turvey, NextEV NIO

“Well first of all, qualifying was great, to get pole position in the qualifying groups and then also in the Super Pole. It was my first ever Formula E pole position. I think at the start of the race I made a good start, got to Turn 1 in the lead and then the opening laps were all about controlling the race and I felt comfortable once the regen came in. I was comfortable with the feeling of the car and the pace of the car, you know me and Jose [Maria Lopez] were pulling away from the rest of the pack. 

“I felt quite comfortable in the lead and felt I had everything under control, but in the last chicane on the 12th lap, the car just cut out, lost power and I don’t know why yet. We had a BMS shut-down on the dash but we need to understand why that was, because I couldn’t reset or anything. Seems there was some issue in the powertrain. [It’s] Really frustrating to have this issue when you’re leading the race and a real shame, but hopefully we as a team can get on top of it and learn from this experience.”