MAGIC MAX: Guenther on his awesome São Paulo comeback drive

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MAGIC MAX: Guenther on his awesome São Paulo comeback drive

Maserati MSG Racing’s Maximilian Guenther gained 13 positions during the São Paulo E-Prix to win the ABB Driver of Progress Award.

Maximilian Guenther Brazil

The Anhembi Sambadrome is known for being a great track for overtaking in Formula E, thanks to its three long straights. The 2024 addition of the São Paulo E-Prix saw an unbelievable 212 overtakes, and one individual who was responsible for a lot of those was Maserati MSG Racing’s Maximilian Guenther. 

Guenther started from the back of the grid in 22nd, served a 10 second stop-and-go penalty, and made some incredible moves to get himself to ninth at the chequered flag. His impressive performance saw him gain 13 positions over the race, understandably giving him the title of ABB Driver of Progress for Round 4 of Season 10. 

Although the German qualified in third for Maserati MSG Racing, he was forced to start from last as a result of two separate penalties for exceeding the allocated number of gearboxes and inverters. Each driver from each team is allowed two of these items in a season, but the Monaco-based team went over the amount, incurring two respective 20-place grid penalties. 

NEWS: Guenther handed penalties for São Paulo

However, one of these was converted into a 10 second-stop-and-go penalty in the race, where the 26-year-old had to come into his pit box and sit there without any team members touching the car before driving off again after the 10 seconds was up. 

The four-time E-Prix winner served his penalty early once racing was underway, and thanks to a Safety Car for the recovery of Norman Nato’s Andretti front wing, he was able to close up to the pack. By Lap 20, Guenther was already up to ninth! 

JL103577-min

“Obviously, it was a big task,” the Maserati MSG Racing driver said after the event. “From last, with a 10 second-stop-and-go drive-through penalty, we knew there was only one strategy that was potentially going to work. That was trying to save some energy and waiting for a Safety Car and in the end, it came in quite a good moment for us! We then closed the gap and went for it.”

An amazing battle through the pack followed, and the pace of the STELLANTIS powertrain plus notorious speed demon Guenther made for a match made in heaven. 

“There was some quite tough racing to move forward,” he continued. “But step by step, we came closer to the points. I felt very good in the car with some really good pace. We managed to get into the points and finish the race in ninth. I think it was a brilliant recovery, and very happy for the whole team.

“The first [Safety Car] was important for us and came at a good moment because the energy targets were rising for everybody, and if it came too late, I wouldn't have had the chance to recover the position.”

FEATURE: Five things we learned in São Paulo 

Discussing the penalties, Guenther stated that the team took the hit in Brazil because it was a circuit they knew they could try and try to make up the places up at. They weren’t wrong! 

Maximilian Gunther Sao Paulo

“We took this decision with the penalties - with the gearbox - because of performance reasons. We think it will put us in a better position for the rest of the season and we took it on a race weekend where we knew overtaking was possible in a race. 

“Obviously it was still a big task, especially with the additional stop-and-go penalty. We maximised our day, scoring points and being in a good position now. Our pace was great and third in qualifying was good. I'm happy with the progress.”

2024 CALENDAR: Where will Formula E race in 2024?

Looking ahead to Tokyo, Maximilian added: “I think it's one of the big highlights of this season in the calendar. I've been to Tokyo once, and I can't wait to go back there. It's an amazing city!”