The FIA Formula E World Championship got underway on Friday afternoon with Free Practice 1 in Mexico City. 22 drivers took to the 2.63km Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit, eager to get back behind the wheel, but it was NEOM McLaren’s Jake Hughes who set the early pace with a 1m14.364s.
However, no sooner had the British driver gone top of the timesheets, he made a mistake and ended in the barrier. TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein finished in second, with ABT CUPRA’s Nico Mueller making a surprise cameo in third. Robin Frinjs managed fourth in his new Envision Racing machine with Andertti’s Jake Dennis rounding up the top five.
Getting the laps in under the hot Mexican sun, Jaguar TCS Racing’s Mitch Evans started quickest. The Kiwi driver has a new teammate in Nick Cassidy this year, and left October’s Valencia pre-season test as the fastest. However, green flag conditions didn't last long as Maserati MSG Racing’s Maximilian Guenther brought a stop to the session.
Guenther managed to slide his way around the final corner in dramatic fashion, kicking up a tonne of dust in the process. But, although the move might have looked stylish, the four-time race winner damaged his suspension in the process and had to limp to a stop on the start/finish straight. Rescued by a recovery vehicle, the Maserati driver made it back to the pits but his session was ultimately over.
Teams and drivers are desperate to get the laps in and get as much data as they can, and so an additional 12 minutes were added to the practice session for the delay.
Jake Hughes finds the wall at the Peraltada, bringing the session to a premature end
Drivers had completed a shakedown earlier in the day, which is a non-timed session and sees them take to the track at reduced speeds. Here they can test the reliability of the car, as well as any electronic systems to make sure everything is working as planned. All normally runs smoothly, but ERT Formula E Team’s Sergio Sette Camara made contact with a barrier although he was back out running in FP1.
The dirty track made for lots of close calls coming out of the final corner, with Nissan’s Sacha Fenestraz almost replicating the same slide as Guenther but with better consequences as he just ran wide over the kerbing.
Several drivers had their turn at the top of the timesheets, including reigning champion Jake Dennis (Andretti) and TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein but it was Jake Hughes of NEOM McLaren who finished top of the timesheets. Unfortunately for the papaya driver, no sooner had he gone 0.381s clear of the rest of the grid, he binned it in the barrier at Turn 2. The McLaren driver was fine after his crash, with Team Principal Ian James confirming he was naturally frustrated with the mistake.
Where, when and how to watch or stream the 2024 Hankook Mexico City E-Prix
It's now on to race day on Saturday 13 January as Free Practice 2 kicks off the day at 07:25, qualifying follows at 09:40 as the field of 22 drivers battle for the Julius Baer Pole Position to get the best start to the opening round of Season 10 when the lights go out at 14:00 local/20:00 UTC.