Plenty of driving errors and material damages in Mexico

ABB FIA Formula E Championship 2019/20 had come to the fourth round, that was run at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

The track, as always, was the shorter version of the one Formula 1 uses, but the layout was longer this time than the previous years, which hopefully would create more chances for overtaking.

Andre Lotterer had taken Pole Position, which was the first for the TAG Heuer Porsche team in their debut season. Mitch Evans in Panasonic Jaguar Racing was P2, Nyck de Vries in Mercedes-Benz EQ was third, and Sebastien Buemi in Nissan e.dams was fourth.

The championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne in Mercedes-Benz EQ would start the race from P10, a total of eight positions in front of the second person in the championship, Alexander Sims.

Pascal Wehrlein and Jerome D’Ambrosio from Mahindra Racing started the race from last since both drivers had gotten their gearboxes, which, according to the rulebook, was prohibited.

Oliver Turvey in NIO 333 stalled on his qualifying lap, so he didn’t set any competitive time at all.

Daniel Abt in Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler was lucky that he could start the race at all. The German had a huge run-off under the first practice, where he pulled more than 20G. It damaged the car so much that the mechanics had to build a new car for him. He was said to be okay after a tour to the hospital, and he could jump back to the car and race, though from P22.

Mexico E-Prix 2020 start
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

The race started at 16.04 local time, with twenty-four cars speeding towards Turn 1.

It was a highly chaotic start, where Evans pushed Lotterer in Turn 1. It meant that the German fell back to fourth, while de Vries and Buemi were second and third.

Buemi went up to the second place already on the second lap after driving past de Vries, who also lost a place to Lotterer and Sam Bird.

Nico Müller hit the barrier hard on lap 2 when he came with too much speed through Turn 1. The Safety Car was deployed in order to remove the car from the track.

After two laps of clean-up, the race got restarted.

When the cars entered the stadium section for the first time, Bird got past Lotterer, who was also under pressure by Robin Frijns, and got overtaken one corner later.

Felipe Massa had to retire from the race after hitting the wall in Turn 1. He could get away from there by himself, so we avoided another interruption.

Felipe Massa
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

Ma Qing Hua got a Drive-through penalty for technical illegality on the car.

Lotterer brushed the wall and got one of the advertisement banners tangled around his rear tire. At the same time, the front wing was broken and he had to retire in a smokescreen, and even a bit of flame. He rolled the car back to the pits so the Safety Car wasn’t necessary.

The day only got worse for TAG Heuer Porsche as Neel Jani’s car also had something technically illegal, so he had to drive through the pitlane as well.

Stoffel Vandoorne, Antonio Felix da Costa, Lucas Di Grassi, Nyck de Vries, and Andre Lotterer were the five drivers who got Fan Boost.

Evans had built up a nice gap in front, with two and a half seconds down to Bird in P2, who was a further couple of seconds ahead of Buemi in third.

Halfway into the race, Di Grassi had driven himself up from P15 to P8 – and he even did it before using the Fan Boost.

Eighteen laps in, there was contact between three drivers. Felix da Costa tried to overtake de Vries, who closed the door. For some reason, de Vries locked his front wheels while the rear wheels pushed the car forward, so he was completely out of control. Poor Frijns was caught in the middle, and even though de Vries had tried to brake with all he got, the car continued to roll forward to the run-off area. He, however, managed to manoeuvre the car to safety without needing a Full Course Yellow, or yet another Safety Car period.

Ma Qing Hua
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

Oliver Rowland and Edoardo Mortara had contact with each other, where Rowland got pushed off the normal racing line and had to take a little shortcut. But it wasn’t enough to keep his position as he got passed by both Mortara and Alexander Sims.

Frijns had more contact, and this time it was a little poke from James Calado in the stadium section. Shortly afterwards, the Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver went past the Envision Virgin Racing driver.

After the DS Techeetah team had let Felix da Costa overtake Vergne very easily, earlier in the race, one more change was ordered with eleven minutes left, so the defending Formula E champion was again ahead of his teammate. Neither of them could, however, threaten Buemi as they once again swapped positions.

Ma Qing Hua finished the race in the concrete wall, not that he was any doing something noteworthy in today’s race, anyway.

BMW i Andretti driver Alexander Sims came up to P7, right behind the current championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne.

Daniel Abt had a spin, with only seven minutes left of the race.

After trying for many laps, Antonio Felix da Costa finally drove past Buemi, and set his sight on Bird in P2.

The Portuguese caught up with Bird with four minutes left and forced the Brit to make a mistake. Bird drove into the barrier and after that it was only Evans in front of Felix da Costa.

Vandoorne and Sims were battling for fifth place, with the Belgian ahead of the Brit.

Mitch Evans
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

Di Grassi got under pressure by Rowland and used his Fan Boost to defend himself against an overtake attempt.

On the penultimate lap, Vandoorne made a driving error and brushed the wall. The car was damaged and he had to retire, which meant he would lose his lead in the championship. What a shame.

Mitch Evans won the race for Panasonic Jaguar Racing, ahead of Antonio Felix da Costa in DS Techeetah and Sebastien Buemi in Nissan e.dams.

Jean-Eric Vergne, Alexander Sims, Lucas Di Grassi, Oliver Rowland, Edoardo Mortara, James Calado and Pascal Wehrlein completed the top ten. Sims got a bonus point for setting the fastest lap amongst the drivers in the top ten.

Due to today’s result, Mitch Evans now leads the championship, followed by Alexander Sims, and Antonio Felix da Costa in second and third positions, while Stoffel Vandoorne falls back to fourth.

BMW i Andretti keeps their lead in the team championship, ahead of Panasonic Jaguar Racing and Mercedes-Benz EQ.

The next round of ABB FIA Formula E Championship 2019/20 will be run in two weeks’ time in Morroco.


James Calado got disqualified after the race for using too much power. The drivers were allowed to use a total of 47kWh, and he exceeded that limit.

Robin Frijns was also disqualified from the race because his car peaked four times in the race due to too much power – with and without Attack Mode. He was, however, already out of the points.

Calado’s disqualification means advancement in the points for Jerome D’Ambrosio.

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