Pascal Wehrlein: “Our new car has a lot of potential”

Pascal Wehrlein is “really looking forward” to the start of Season Nine and Gen3 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, with the Mexico City E-Prix kicking-off what is set to be a thrilling year for the all-electric championship.

The German driver is remaining with the German manufacturer for a third season, with this weekend’s host, the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, being a very happy hunting ground for the ex-Formula 1 driver. Wehrlein famously claimed pole position at last year’s Mexico City E-Prix, where he then went on to claim his and Porsche’s first win in the all-electric championship. Whilst that result was in Gen2 machinery, it will give Wehrlein plenty of confidence heading into the weekend.

Pre-season testing was mixed for Porsche, with the German side having set less than convincing times; however, Wehrlein did perform well during the pre-season mock-race. The German driver has admitted himself ahead of the season opener that the team “faced a lot of challenges” during the pre-season test, mainly due to there being so much to learn with the new cars.

Despite this, Wehrlein is confident that the team’s Gen3 challenger, the Porsche 99X Electric, has got “potential”.

“I’m really looking forward to racing again and being able to pit ourselves against the other teams. Our new car has a lot of potential. We’re still at the very beginning. We faced a lot of challenges at the Valencia tests because a lot of the Gen3 car is new, such as its second powertrain. Plus, we have a new tyre manufacturer. But at the same time, this gives us a lot of opportunities to improve. I expect we’ll make great headway as the season progresses.”

Wehrlein is joined by a new team-mate for Season Nine, with Season Six Champion António Felix da Costa having made the switch from DS Techeetah. The duo have known each other “for ages”, with the pair having raced against each other in Formula 3, DTM and, of course, Formula E. Wehrlein is “thrilled” to have Da Costa alongside him at Porsche and has revealed that the duo have a “great relationship”.

“We have a great relationship. We’ve known each other for ages because we raced against each other in Formula 3 and the DTM. I’m thrilled to have him as my teammate. It’s great working with him. He is the most experienced driver in Formula E. Together, we will make every effort to advance the team.”

“I want to win races and the championship” – António Félix da Costa

As mentioned, on the other side of the Porsche garage this season is Da Costa, who on his day is one of the strongest drivers on the Formula E grid. By joining Porsche for Season Nine, the Portuguese driver has made his “dream” come true, something which will likely give him confidence to put on a show.

Da Costa’s pre-season performance wasn’t the most convincing, with the thirty-one year old having ended the official pre-season test 1.2 seconds off the leading pace. Despite this, though, he feels “relaxed” ahead of his Porsche debut and is ultimately “happy” with the Germans Gen3 challenger.

“It has always been my dream to race for Porsche. I enjoy the anticipation in the lead-up to the season and I’m super excited. There can only be one goal with this brand – to win races. I’m feeling relaxed about my premiere with Porsche in Mexico. What matters is how we finish the season, not how we start it. I’m happy with my new car. I think we’ll definitely be competitive with it.”

Whilst he did end pre-season testing at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia, towards the bottom of the timesheets, it would be no shock to see Da Costa further up the order come the first E-Prix, given his wealth of experience in the sport. Being an experienced driver could help both himself and the team understand the 99X Electric quicker, something which will increase Da Costa’s chances of achieving his “goal”, to “win races and the championship”.

“That will just happen naturally. I’ve been with Formula E since the very first race. I’ll lay all of my experience on the table and let the team decide what to do with it. We have a great team of engineers and every chance to work our way to the top. It all depends on how we use those opportunities. My goal as a driver is clear – I want to win races and the championship. I can’t say where we stand at the moment, but that’s our goal.”

Credit: TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team