"There are no poor driver's in Formula E - everyone is talented and everyone is pushing, so it's a case of putting it all together perfectly on the day," said Techeetah Formula E's Andre Lotterer, just hours ahead of the 2018 Mexico City E-Prix.
After he and his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne made history in Santiago after clinching the series' first-ever one-two finish, the pressure's on for a repeat performance here in Mexico City. The team are currently sitting at the top of the standings with 89 points - a full 45 points ahead of Renault e.dams, who supply Techeetah's powertrain. "We've benefited from having a powertrain from a manufacturer that's been in the series from the very start," said Techeetah Team Principal Mark Preston.
Entering into the all-electric series at the start of Season Four, it took four rounds for Lotterer's talent to shine through. "I had a lot to learn in a short time. It's a different series to jump into - a lot of drivers are up to speed and everybody is very strong," he said. "I knew it was going to be difficult at the beginning - it's mentally tough when you're at the back of the grid and you're getting penalties. But I kept my cool, did my homework, did the sim sessions properly and stayed positive - then I just pulled it all together. Santiago was the first time I really understood everything, all the things we have in the car and managing the energy. It just took a bit of time but hopefully, we can stay at the level we had in Santiago."
For NIO Formula E Team's Oliver Turvey, Mexico City brings back "great memories" after starting the race on Pole last season. "The track is challenging - it's quite technical, with some parts like a regular circuit, some bumpy parts like a street circuit. Ultimately, it feels like a street circuit in the confines of a race circuit." Despite his head start last season, Turvey failed to finish the race. Will he be able to boost NIO's standing this time around with another pole and a podium finish?
Challenging for the championship title, not to mention the top step of the podium here in Mexico City, is Mahindra Racing's Felix Rosenqvist. "Last year I had much more to prove but this year, I've already established myself as a winner in the series, so taking a fourth win is not going to prove anything - it's much better to prove you can win a championship," said the Swede. Currently sitting second in the standings - just five points behind Jean-Eric Vergne - Rosenqvist has finished first in two of the four rounds in Season Four. Could Mexico City be his hattrick?
For DS Virgin Racing's Sam Bird and Alex Lynn, it will be a tough start to the race here at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez with both drivers having to overcome a 10-place grid penalty after the team replaced the gearbox on both cars. Over at Audi Sport Abt Shaeffler, it's a similar story as reigning champion Lucas di Grassi's misery looks set to continue as the Brazilian driver also faces a 10-place grid penalty for a swapped inverter. That said, di Grassi managed to miraculously win here last season as he battled his way up from fifteenth to claim victory. Can the champ perform another miracle here in Mexico City?
Ahead of the race, Qualifying - which defines the order that the drivers start the race in - takes place at 12:00 (local time) on March 3. The session lasts one hour and sees drivers divided into groups, decided by a lottery conducted in advance. Each driver has six minutes to set their best time, with the top-five drivers proceeding to the Super Pole shoot-out. The groups that the drivers will qualify in are listed below;
5 - Maro Engel, Venturi Formula E
7 - Jerome d'Ambrosio, Dragon
27 - Tom Blomqvist, MS&AD Andretti Formula E
68 - Luca Filippi, NIO Formula E Team
1 - Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport Abt Shaeffler
25 - Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah
19 - Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing
2 - Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing
9 - Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams
3 - Nelson Piquet Jn. Panasonic Jaguar Racing
28 - Antonio Felix da Costa, MS&AD Andretti Formula E
16 - Oliver Turvey, NIO Formula E Team
6 - Jose Maria Lopez, Dragon
36 - Alex Lynn, DS Virgin Racing
8 - Nico Prost, Renault e.dams
4 - Edoardo Mortara, Venturi Formula E
20 - Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing
23 - Nick Hiedfeld, Mahindra Racing
18 - Andre Lotterer, Techeetah
66 - Daniel Abt, Audi Sport Abt Shaeffler
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Published on 3rd March 2018