After a delayed start to the session, all cars made their way onto the 2.835km street circuit. However, just minutes into FP1, the TAG Heuer Porsche of Pascal Wehrlein brought out a red flag after a big impact at Turn 18.
Suggesting that the throttle on his Porsche was stuck, the German's car made contact with the barriers at high speed and caused significant damage to both the front and rear of his car. The incident also littered the track with debris, but the efficiency of local marshals meant racing was back underway minutes later.
Championship leader Wehrlein was able to remove himself from the car and later headed to hospital for precautionary checks. With his 99X Electric Gen3 spending the rest of the session at the side of the track, Porsche decided that it would keep all cars with its powertrains garaged and sitting out the rest of the session until they were able to collect the data and learn from the crash.
It was a a big decision from Porsche, leaving Wehrlein’s teammate and Season 6 Champion Antonio Felix da Costa, out of the session. Avalanche Andretti, a customer team of the Porsche powertrains and home to Mexico City race winner Jake Dennis, were also forced to miss the important running time. This evening in India will be a busy one for Porsche, who recently did the double and won both races over the Diriyah E-Prix weekend. Not only will they be needing to rebuild Wehrlein’s car, but they’ll also have to get to the bottom of the issue.
Elsewhere on track, Maserati MSG Racing’s Edoardo Mortara got a bit too cosy with the NIO 333 of Dan Ticktum, driving up the rear of his car during the session. NEOM McLaren’s Jake Hughes also had a moment of his own, wrestling his papaya McLaren around ATTACK MODE but managing it well.
Buemi, who went quickest, has shown great pace over the last few races, even achieving the Julius Baer Pole Position in his Envision during Saturday’s race in Diriyah and currently sits just behind Jake Hughes (NEOM McLaren) as the second best qualifier this season. Behind Buemi, reigning champ and DS PENSKE driver, Stoffel Vandoorne. With DS PENSKE being early favourites this early pace will be a welcomed change for the outfit that have not delivered on their potential so far this season.
NIO’s Sergio Sette Camara rounded out the top three times, with the Jaguar TCS Racing duo of Sam Bird and Mitch Evans finishing the session in a promising fourth and fifth, respectively - on "home turf" for the TATA-owned company.