Eight talking points from the Hankook Mexico City E-Prix

The opening round in Mexico City saw the ABB Formula E World Championship enter into its new GEN3 era, and it certainly provided us with an entertaining weekend!

mexico city 2023 birds eye

Dominant Dennis

Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis took the first victory in this new generation of Formula E - repeating the same achievement Andretti managed during the Gen2 era, when Antonio Felix da Costa secured the first win at the 2018 Diriyah E-Prix.

Dennis started the race on the front-row, and would take the lead when Mahindra Racing’s Lucas di Grassi, holder of the Julius Baer Pole Position, made a mistake which let the Brit through. Delivering a masterclass in this new machinery, Dennis managed a 7.816s lead to second place TAG Heuer Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein - his performance at the flag became the seventh biggest winning margin in Formula E history!

Promising result for Porsche

With Dennis and Wehrlein supplying a Porsche powertrain one-two result in Mexico, there was also further success for the German manufacturer as all four of their cars finished within the top 10 result come race day. Andretti’s new signing, Andre Lotterer, just missed out on a podium place finishing in fourth, with former Formula E champ and Porsche driver, da Costa, crossing the chequered flag in seventh.

wehrlein podium mexico city 2023

Mexico City has proved to be a strong circuit for Porsche, with the team achieving their first win here last season thanks to Wehrlein. Lotterer also finished in second in that same event.

Although it should be noted that Andretti managed to pip the factory squad to victory. Something to definitely keep an eye on!

Disappointment for DS PENSKE

Things looked promising for the DS PENSKE team after Free Practice this weekend. They’d been a force to be reckoned with at pre-season testing, and Jean-Eric Vergne was consistently quick around the circuit, topping the timesheets after FP1.

However, a disastrous qualifying saw both Vergne and his new teammate, reigning World Champion, Stoffel Vandoorne, start outside the top 10 resulting in the DS PENSKE duo having a discouraging E-Prix.

During the race, Vergne made contact with Nissan’s Sacha Fenestraz, which damaged his front wing. Whereas, Vandoorne picked up a single point finishing in 10th. Probably not the start the world champ, or any of us, expected! 

Misery for Maserati

Another team which looked rapid in pre-season testing was Maserati MSG Racing. Maximilian Guenther had topped five of the seven testing sessions, but both Maserati’s appeared to struggle around Mexico - especially Edoardo Mortara.

The Swiss driver lost control of his Maserati during FP2, forcing him to watch the rest of the session from the sidelines. Fast-forward to the race, and Mortara managed to bin his Maserati machine into the barriers at Turn 1.

They’ll both be hoping for better results at the Diriyah double-header in a fortnight, after a pointless run in Mexico City.

Heartbreak for NIO

When NIO 333’s Dan Ticktum got through to the Duels, it felt like an exciting new chapter was on the cards for the Anglo-Chinese team. Ticktum eventually lined up fifth on the grid, a career best for him, with Team Principal, Alex Hui, even suggesting both cars had the pace to be in the top four of their respective groups.

ticktum mexico city 2023 fans

Describing the Duels achievement as “emotional”, it unfortunately all seemed to unravel in during the Mexico E-Prix as Ticktum was handed a drive-through penalty for an overuse of energy which dropped him to the back of the pack. Things went from bad to worse for Ticktum, when he got further penalties for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.

His teammate Sergio Sette Camara finished the race in 16th, just one position ahead of Ticktum in last. The other NIO driver had looked quick in practice too, but couldn’t translate that pace later on in the day when it mattered most.

A di Grassi defending masterclass

He might have made a mistake which let Jake Dennis though to win the Mexico City E-Prix, but Mahindra’s Lucas di Grassi put on one of the drives of his career to finish third at the weekend.

Likely going down as one of his best performances in Formula E, Lucas managed to keep behind the NEOM McLaren of Jake Hughes and Andre Lotterer to earn Mahindra their first podium of the Gen3 era.

Rapid rookies

McLaren’s Jake Hughes seems to have settled into the world of Formula E like a duck to water. Although in the Drivers’ Room after the race, Hughes described his first E-Prix as the “hardest race I’ve ever done”.

“We didn’t say it would be easy,” champion Vandoorne quipped back.

hughes foro sol mexico city 2023

Hughes also confessed he let Lotterer through for fourth place because he thought there was a yellow flag. However, it was still a seriously impressive debut for Hughes!

Elsewhere, Sacha Fenestraz got caught up in a tussle with Jean-Eric Vergne which JEV took the blame for. He eventually finished 15th, after making it into the quarter finals of the Duels.

More bad luck for Bird

Jaguar TCS Racing’s Sam Bird suffered a terrible season last year, bringing an end to his streak of winning a race in every season of Formula E. After ending his Season 8 early by breaking his hand, he’s spent the last few months resting and hoping to enter this new generation of Formula E.

However, software issues plagued his weekend, and saw him start 21st from the 22 driver grid. He also retired during the race and suffered a miserable weekend all round.