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Rast Mexico E-prix exit reveals the weakness of the GEN3 cars

Written by Cameron Gale, Edited by Ishani Aziz

Neom McLaren Racing teammates Jake Hughes and Rene Rast at the Valencia pre-season testing. 
Image Credit: Malcolm Griffiths

When René Rast retired after his contact with Oliver Rowland, it revealed the lack of strength of the new GEN3 cars.

With just 4 laps to go Rowland and Rast came together at the turn five hairpin which left the McLaren driver with no other choice but to retire the car with a broken suspension. This was a very tough return for Rast after he spent a year in DTM after the departure of Audi at the end of 2021. ​He recalls the incident and hinted that Rowland was at fault:

"Unfortunately, Rowland dived into my right hand side and we had contact - the front-right suspension broke in Turns 5 and 6”.

“So yeah, this ended my race unfortunately until that point. I think we did what we could starting from P15. There was for sure more in it, but in the end it just didn't work out."

On his side, Rowland explained that he was attempting to pass Rast for P13 and that they touched wheels at the hairpin. Last season this would usually result in both drivers being able to continue the race:

"I was up the inside and, in the middle of the corner, we just touched wheels..”. He then went on to say:

“I think it's pretty unfortunate for him to be out because of it. It must have hit like a really bad angle, but I mean, we barely made contact - it wasn't like we hit hard.”

Rowland critiqued the GEN3 machinery quite strongly, stating:

"I just think these cars are quite weak structurally. And last year it would've been nothing."

"You have to risk more to pass with this car. You risk more, the damage is easier - on these types of tracks, there's going to be a bit of attrition."

Oliver Rowland, Mahindra Racing, Mahindra M9Electro. Image Credit: Simon Galloway

Explaining his lack of pace compared to Season three champion, Lucas Di Grassi, who is now his teammate. Di Grassi claimed pole and a podium at the first race of the GEN3 era. Rowland admitted that he was simply ‘slow’ and that set-up tweaks had not worked.

Rowland then went on to add that he was happy that his teammate managed to give some hope to the team after their GEN3 kit was late arriving in the off-season. ​

“I was slow. I really struggled with rear tyre deg," said Rowland.

"We were very different in terms of settings, set-up, everything. It's kind of, you have to learn at this early stage. He was in a good window and I was in a very bad one”.

"I was good in Valencia. I was, I was top five the whole time, and then it was a bit the other way around here.

"We tried to reinvent a little bit between Valencia and now on my side of the garage and it didn't work. But it's also good that we also have Abt to help a little bit as well. We're all trying different things, trying to understand as quickly as possible.

"If [di Grassi] had been at the back with us, he'd have been pretty demoralised to be honest. But, the fact that he was at the front gives hope - and it's positive."

After a very eventful Mexico E-prix I think we can conclude that this year's Formula E cars need to develop their resistance if we are to have some good racing this year.


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