Jakarta E-Prix Weekend : Tag Heuer Porsche forges ahead in the championship
Jakarta, Indonesia - The Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E team has forged ahead and garnered enough points during the 10th and 11th rounds of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship to re-claim the lead.
Both António Félix da Costa and Pascal Wehrlein have gained a combined total of 43 points, which allowed the Tag Heuer Porsche team to take the top spot in the Formula E constructor’s championship. Wehrlein himself scored 33 points, which enabled him to take the lead of the Formula E driver’s championship.
Formula E Season 9 Changes
The ninth season of the FIA Formula E race series has had a multitude of changes compared to the previous seasons. The cars are now more powerful with 476 horsepower - up from 340, quicker from zero to 100km/h (in just 2.8 seconds), and have higher top speeds and increased levels of regeneration (up to 600kW of charging).
The increased levels of regen enables the cars to operate without hydraulic brakes in the rear, and the cars themselves are lighter too, tipping the scales at 840kg instead of 900kg. The “fan boost” voting system of the previous years has been scrapped this season, levelling the playing field somewhat.
But a common point of contention amongst drivers this season has been the new tyres, which are now supplied by Hankook, made with bio-materials and sustainable rubber.
Speaking to TopGear.com.sg, António Félix Da Costa revealed that the team faced challenges in the initial stages of the season trying to get to know how the tyres behaved and tweaking the Porsche 99X Electric Formula E racer to suit their respective driving styles.
“The Hankook traditionally wants to be driven differently from the Michelins, so the car needs to be set up differently,” said Da Costa, “We have spent a lot of time - we still do, trying to understand these tyres, what temperature they want to be at, warming them up.”
“I think (Hankook) did a good job, considering it's their first season in Formula E,” added Pascal Wehrlein, “They were told to make a very hard compound tyre, and they did what was asked. So I can’t complain.
“At the end of the day, it’s the same for the rest of the teams and drivers,” said Da Costa, “So there’s no excuse.”
Jakarta E-Prix Round 10 - Saturday
The morning qualifying session saw Wehrlein make it to the qualifying duels, beating out Rene Rast (NEOM McLaren) in the quarter-finals before settling for a P3 start after being knocked out of the Semi-finals by Maximilian Gunther (Maserati MSG Racing team).
As the lights went out and the first race of the Gulavit Jakarta E-Prix began, Pascal Wehrlein surged past Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) to take 2nd place before Turn 1 of the Ancol track - a position he held on to before overtaking Max Gunther in the 2nd lap for P1.
As the race wore on, the Porsche driver battled the other two drivers in the podium places to take the lead, eventually finishing in P1 and bagging 25 points. Da Costa came in P8, adding 4 points for the Tag Heuer Porsche team, allowing them to take the lead in the constructor’s championship with 198 points - ahead of the Envision Racing team’s 189 points.
Jakarta E-Prix Round 11 - Sunday
Sunday’s qualifying session saw Wehrlein and Da Costa place themselves at P6 and P11 on the grid respectively. Max Gunther, Jake Dennis and Mitch Evans of Jaguar TCS Racing (a 2022 Jakarta E-Prix winner himself) claimed the podium places.
As the race began, Wehrlein dropped to 7th while Da Costa made up two places to get into the points.
On lap 19, Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) - who was leading the driver’s championship, plunged into the back of Wehrlein trying to take the inside line at turn 16, damaging his front wing and dropping to P19 outside of the points after visiting the pits for a new wing.
Maximillian Gunther of the Maserati MSG Racing team took first place, followed by Jake Dennis of the Avalanche Andretti team and Mitch Evans came in 3rd. Gunther’s win also marks Maserati’s first win in an FIA sanctioned championship series in a single-seater car since Juan-Manuel Fangio's win at the Nurburgring in 1957.
Wehrlein and Da Costa finished in P6 and P7 respectively, the former scoring the necessary points to bring him back in the lead of the driver’s championship - re-claiming the lead that he lost in the 8th round of the season.
At the end of the Jakarta E-Prix, the Tag Heuer Porsche team leads the constructor’s championship with 212 points, 22 points ahead of the Envision Racing team in second. Pascal Wehrlein ended the double-header weekend with 134 points, putting him ahead of Jake Dennis of the Avalanche Andretti team and Nick Cassidy from Envision Racing with 133 and 128 championship points respectively.
With just five races left on the Formula E calendar, the Tag Heuer Porsche team’s lead will be crucial as the season draws to a close. The next race will be held in Portland, USA, before the team and cars head to Rome for another doubleheader weekend, and finally in London for rounds 15 and 16 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
Viel Glück, Porsche.
PHOTOS Porsche AG and Jay Tee