Dennis: 'Pascal and I aren't the best of friends... it's a fierce rivalry'

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Dennis: 'Pascal and I aren't the best of friends... it's a fierce rivalry'

It's tight at the top with the title race intensifying just four rounds from the end of Season 9. Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) heads the way by a solitary point over Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) in second, while TAG Heuer Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein in third and 16 points from the top - a driver "chilled, laid back" Dennis feels is becoming an increasingly spiky rival.


Dennis is on an incredible run this season, he's already equalled the most podium finishes in a season with eight and is currently on a five-race silverware streak. He's probably, debatably, the form man as it stands in terms of that silverware streak and consistency.

Reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne was the latest driver to show how key consistency is in Formula E with his 2021/22 run to the title, and Brit Dennis knows it's the main ingredient in a winning campaign. That, and a renewed emphasis on qualifying well after Portland's energy critical aversion to Julius Baer Pole Position.

"Consistency is going to be the biggest thing, and a good qualifying," says Dennis. "These past few races, we’ve seen in Portland that qualifying was out of the window and didn’t really matter so much. Obviously, we made pole at the track where you don’t even want pole but I think here, and in London, we need to be at the front to win the race.


"It’s going to be extremely challenging to overtake – it’s super tight and twisty. So, if we can continue our performance in qualifying that we’ve had over the past three rounds – we’ve not been off the front row since Jakarta – then we’re confident we’ve a good enough car, I just need to deliver when it matters. If we can do that, we’ll have a good weekend because our race pace has always been strong this year."

Chill, laid back and not piling on the pressure

The pressure naturally mounts as a season develops into a potentially championship-winning one. Dennis has been here before in his rookie campaign, though a technical issue in the finale ended his chances before the final race really started in Berlin, Season 8. This time around, Dennis' title charge feels more deliberately constructed - in no small part thanks to that improved level of consistency in his driving and no doubt an added maturity that comes with experience.

He knows what he's doing, and he's keen to control the controllables and do what he and the team have been all season - changing nothing as the ultimate prize draws closer.

"I’m a chilled, laid back guy," says the 28-year-old. "I don’t put too much pressure on myself. Obviously, I get nervous and there’s always pressure before qualifying but I know I need to keep doing what I’m doing.

Dennis Rome

"We’ve had five podiums in a row and eight in total. So, what we’re doing right now is working. I’d like to get a couple more wins and it’s been a while since Mexico City but we just have to keep it light and keep morale high in the garage – everyone feels pressure. It’s on me and my engineer to keep the team fluid and working well and we’re doing that this year.

"London will be a big one for me – there’s going to be a lot of pressure and expectation as we’ve done well there in the past. If I’m in contention there, then we’ll have done a solid job in Rome and then we do the damage there [in London]."

'Pascal and I don't speak anymore... The rivalry's fierce'

Dennis and Wehrlein both drive the Porsche 99X Electric GEN3 - Dennis in the customer Avalanche Andretti-run car and Wehrlein the factory TAG Heuer Porsche machine.

A close open dynamic between the two drivers has, according to Dennis, come to a bit of a head.  The Brit says he and Wehrlein no longer speak in the paddock and feels that's the fault of the German - Dennis insisting he's one of the most friendly, open drivers out there. All that's done for Dennis is to add ammunition and edge to his title charge.

"There’s obviously rivalry between us and it’s pretty fierce for sure," says Dennis. "Pascal and I aren’t the best friends in the paddock – we don’t even say hello to each other anymore. I don’t really know what happened and it was on his account, so now we don’t speak which just makes me want to beat him more.

"I’m not the type of guy to do that, I’m friendly with everyone – there’s not really anyone I don’t get along with well in this paddock so it’s a bit of a shame to see.

"Ultimately, it’s a fierce rivalry between teams as I’m sure it is between Envision and Jaguar – Mitch [Evans] will want to beat Nick [Cassidy] as much as I want to beat Pascal – we’re all racing drivers. We all want to beat each other, whoever it is, and I don’t really care as long as I come out on top."

For his part, Wehrlein doesn't feel the same way and denyed any change in dynamic between himself and the Brit. "I didn't feel like that but okay if he says that!" says the German. "I think we were operating as one team you know, we have a good relationship with Andretti."