In the run up to the return of Formula E, Last-Lap is looking at every team and analysing their lineup, their livery and their chances in 2021.
Read the other teams previews here:
Porsche performed admirably in their debut FE season last year.
A podium on debut based on pure pace for Andre Lotterer and some very strong qualifying performances as well with a stunning pole position in Mexico. Another podium followed in Berlin behind eventual champion Antonio Felix Da Costa.
There was expectation for potential fights for the podium and that was exactly what the team achieved in race one. The next step is a win for Porsche and there is no reason to believe they won’t be capable of fighting for some in 2021.
Porsche ended up only two points behind Jaguar who in the hands of Mitch Evans were tipped for the title mid season and was this author’s bet on the entry to the Berlin finale.
Being only two points behind a race winning team is a success.
The failure for Porsche was their driver lineup unfortunately. Whislt Lotterer scored two podiums and consistent points, his teammate Neel Jani struggled to get to grips with the hugely complicated formula.
Jani was unable to score points until a sixth place in the penultimate round and unfortunately became the weak link in the chain that held Porsche back in their debut assault.
This second assault looks set to be much more competitive however with a new feisty driver on board and experience in the championship.
There is no reason why the team can’t improve in the same way HWA did when it became Mercedes in Season 6.
Andre Lotterer has proved his fierce race craft and pace in his three seasons of Formula E. He has yet to get a win but has been in the position to fight for them in every season he has contested.
He left DS Techeetah to get out of two time champion Jean-Eric Vergne’s shadow and when he joined Porsche and took to team leadership admirably.
Lotterer has been one of Formula E’s nearly men for sometime, he doesn’t quite usurp Sam Bird from the top step but that is very on brand for the Le Mans legend in FE.
He has been close to wins nearly from the get go in Season 4 when he signed for Techeetah and has been able to take podiums and poles but never quite winning.
The goals for Season 6 were achieved by Lotterer, now he admits he has to start winning races to take the step up Porsche need from him.
Lotterer said: “We have a very interesting first season behind us, in which we learnt a great deal and made good progress from race to race.”
“The goal for our rookie season was to finish on the podium. We achieved that. Now we want to win races. The key to success in Formula E is to be well prepared when you arrive at the circuit, and then to call on everything you need to make it a successful race day. That includes being able to react quickly and correctly to unpredictable situations. That will be the big challenge for us in the new season. After Valencia [pre season testing], we are well prepared.”
Pascal Wehrlein joins the team for Season 7 in place of the disappointing Neel Jani. Wehrlein’s late start to FE was immense. He was fighting for wins almost immediately in his second and third races in Santiago and Mexico, both becoming instant classic races. His pace was always there following those as well but he hasn’t had more opportunities to fight for the rostrum since.
His signing by Porsche forced him out of the Berlin rounds for Mahindra who instead brought in Alex Lynn to provide them with some continuity for Season 7 with Jerome D’Ambrosio leaving as well. When racing restarts as planned in Saudi Arabia in the end of February, it will have been nearly a year to the day since Wehrlein last raced a real FE car.
He finished that race in P22, compromised by a puncture that took him out of any meaningful running early on.
Missing out on racing for such a long time doesn’t make Wehrlein at all rusty in any way though, he was right up there in the timings at the Valenica test and is key to this season being much more exciting for Porsche than Season 6 ever was.
After the test, Wehrlein said: “As a newcomer to the team, this test was very important for me. I got an even better feeling for the car and was able to try out different things. We worked through an extensive programme at Valencia, which I really liked.
“I may be familiar with Formula E, but every team works differently. As a driver, I have to adapt to that. In general, we have everything we need to be successful. However, to win races – which is our goal for the new season – we must find a way to make the most of our opportunities and to get everything spot on when it comes to race day. It is an exciting challenge, which I am looking forward to.”
Not much has changed in looks for Porsche from last year going into 2020. But hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
It’s sleek and sophisticated with the flare that any Porsche naturally exudes. As a tool to sell Taycans it works nicely.
How will Season 7 go?
Porsche are looking forward. A win is the goal.
They were consistently in Mercedes’ shadow last season. Mercedes rounded off Berlin with a one-two finish and Stoffel Vandoorne achieved second in the drivers championship. Porsche’s eighth in the teams (with Lotterer eighth as well in the drivers) is a marked difference with the two obviously being compared highly joining Formula E officially at the same time.
Mercedes did have their HWA fact finding approach and if that season is compared with Porsche, it is much more favourable on them however (ninth for HWA with one podium).
Amiel Lindesay, Head of Operations, said after the Valencia test: “It was a nice feeling for everyone in the team to be back in race mode after the long break. Although the Valencia circuit is not your typical Formula E track, we were still able to complete a demanding programme. We wanted to understand our 99X Electric even better, and to optimise the processes in the team. We have taken a big step forward in all areas.
Lindesay continued: “We are now looking forward to the start of the season. The challenges awaiting us against such strong opposition are huge. However, we have prepared well and are ready.”
Lotterer topped the times in Valencia on day one and the team did not look at all shabby on the other days. Achieving their winning goal will be a tough one, the field is so competitive and forcing juggernauts such as DS Techeetah and Nissan to slip up will be no mean feat.
But they proved in Season 6 that they can mix it up at the front and didn’t look at all flustered. Chances are there will be much more success to come in 2021.