Mexico City E-Prix Preview
Written by Olly Radley, Edited by Morgan Holiday
After just a 2-week break, Formula E is back! For the third round of the season, we return to Mexico City for the Mexico City E-Prix. The track hasn’t been on the calendar since Season 6, having been cancelled last year due to COVID, and with its return this weekend we’re sure to have an amazing race.
The track itself is at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, the venue that has hosted Formula 1’s Mexican Grand Prix since 2015, albeit on an altered layout. The 2.6km circuit features a whole host of long sweeping corners as well as tight, hard braking zones. The first corner comes after a fairly short straight, where even a small mistake could prove costly with the wall awaiting any stragglers on exit, but expect lots of moves under braking here. Through Turn 2, the drivers are constantly turning through the vast long right-hander, battling oversteer before another braking zone into 3. A small kink out of 3 leads into another pivotal corner at Turn 5, where we may see even more overtaking during the race. After another 90 degree left hander, the track heads onto another straight before the stadium section which houses tens of thousands of fans every year, who we’ll certainly see again this weekend. The stadium contains a slow 5-corner section, as well as the circuit’s designated place for attack mode. As the drivers exit the Foro Sol stadium, the track concludes with another flat left hander, the iconic Peraltada, which fans may recognise from F1 in the 90s.
The track has been a regular fixture on the Formula E calendar since Season 2, with the exception of 2021, where the race was cancelled due to covid. The track has seen three different layouts utilised in its time in Formula E, with the present layout first being used the last time we raced there in 2020, where a dominant Mitch Evans took victory. From the off Mexico was a hit in Formula E, with the inaugural race providing fans with an enthralling and dramatic battle at the front between Jerome d’Ambrosio and Sebastien Buemi, a battle which d’Ambrosio would come out of victorious, taking his first ever Formula E win. The 2017 E-Prix saw the track's first set of layout changes, turning the Turn 1 chicane into the corner we know and love today. Despite the changes, the race proved just as exciting with another incredible E-Prix that saw numerous changes for the lead of the race. Come race end, though, di Grassi, who ended lap 1 without a rear wing, profited from a safety car that saw him take the lead, and then the win. A dominant performance from German Daniel Abt in 2018, did a great job of rounding off the Gen1 era of Formula E. 2019 saw an incredible ending to the E-Prix, where both an energy miscalculation saw both Nissans drop out of contention, before Lucas di Grassi took the lead from Pascal Wehrlein who ran out of energy over the line, as the Brazilian became a two time Mexico E-Prix winner.
This Saturday though, the teams will be hoping to build off of their varying Diriyah E-Prix weekends. Venturi had an impeccable weekend last time out, taking first and third place in Race 2 as well as a fifth and sixth finish in Race 1. Di Grassi, who currently lies in fifth in the championship, is, as I mentioned, a two time winner at Mexico City and someone who’ll definitely be towards the front, as well as teammate Edo Mortara who heads to Mexico as the championship leader. Mercedes-EQ had varying emotions during the opening round of the season, taking a 1-2 in Race 1 in dominant fashion, before a nightmare Race 2 saw them slump to seventh and tenth.
For Avalanche Andretti, Diriyah was a solid base to build off of, with Jake Dennis coming home for third in Race 1, remaining toward the front in fifth in Race 2. His teammate, Oliver Askew, had a great debut in the season opener, working his way through the pack from 17th up to ninth, scoring points on debut. In Mexico, Askew will want to keep up his impressive Diriyah form.
Envision Racing, who recently announced they’d be powered by Jaguar from next season, had a very topsy turvy weekend, which can also be said about Porsche. Both teams had a very strong performance in one race, as well as a shocker in the second. Envision, who announced they’d be powered by Jaguar from next season, even nabbed a podium in Diriyah and will be aiming to get another in Mexico.
A big shock in Diriyah was the performance of Jaguar who had a, to put it lightly, sub-par weekend. Mitch Evans, who was fourth last season, never seemed to have the pace, with his qualifying results putting him outside the top ten in both races, only managing ninth in Race 1. His teammate Sam Bird didn’t have the best weekend either, fighting at the front in Race 1 on his way to P6, before a crash in quali stopped any chance of a good result in Race 2. Evans won the last race in Mexico, but if Jaguar’s Diriyah performance was anything to go by, the Kiwi may struggle to replicate his result from 2020.
Mahindra endured an average weekend in Diriyah, where Rowland seemed to have all the pace throughout the weekend. The Brit failed, however, to deliver on the promise of his morning pace, where he topped both practice sessions. To make matters worse, Rowland was given a grid penalty for impeding in the pit lane before an incident ended his race and warranted him another grid penalty for Race 2.
Nissan’s 2021 nightmare seemed to continue in Diriyah, as they fought in the midfield, with a best finish of 12th in Race 1. Dragon also remained in a similar position to where they were last season, with Sette Camara racking up a pair of average results. His teammate Giovinazzi, meanwhile, had an awful debut in Formula E, displaying very little pace throughout Diriyah, finishing last out of the finishers in both races. NIO 333 enter Mexico City last in the Teams’ championship, a position they’ve become accustomed to in Formula E. Despite this, debutant Dan Ticktum showed decent rookie pace in Diriyah compared to veteran teammate Oliver Turvey, who some may remember was the pole sitter at Mexico all the way back in 2017. The two Brits, shared 18th and 19th in both Race 1 and 2, as well as out qualifying the Dragons in Race 2, a result they’ll want to repeat this weekend.
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