Pascal Wehrlein ‘thrilled’ ahead of ‘highlight of the season’
Drivers’ Championship leader Pascal Wehrlein is “looking forward” to this weekend’s inaugural Cape Town E-Prix, an event which he expects to be a “highlight of the season”, as South Africa prepares to host the fifth round of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
Wehrlein heads to South Africa on the back of an incredibly mixed weekend in Hyderabad, with the German having endured a trip to hospital following a huge crash at the start of the previous round. Thankfully, Wehrlein was able to compete in the remainder of the weekend and astonishingly finished fourth, despite having started the race in twelfth. It was a performance of a championship leader, a lead he actually extended to eighteen points following his excellent recovery.
Looking back on Hyderabad, Wehrlein is “very happy” with his performance given how the weekend started, with the German admitting himself that his crash was “not ideal for preparation”.
“It certainly wasn’t an easy weekend. We only get two practice sessions for each race and so it’s not ideal for preparation when you miss out on one because of an incident. Still, we made the best of it. Our mechanics worked through the night with only an hour’s sleep to put my car back on the track. I was in the hospital until late at night. So with this in mind, I’m very happy with the result. These points are crucial for the championship.”
With a month break taking place after this weekend, Wehrlein will be keen to keep his momentum going into the four week break. If he’s able to extend his title lead then it’d mark a superb first five rounds of the season, but the new circuit in Cape Town will present a number of challenges with everyone “starting from scratch”.
“In Cape Town, we face a new track with new conditions. We need to find out what it takes to be fast on this circuit. Like all the others, we’re starting from scratch. As far as the city of Cape Town is concerned, this is definitely a highlight of the season. I’m looking forward to it and I’m thrilled to have the chance to race in such a fantastic place.”
“We’re making good progress” – António Félix da Costa
On the other side of the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team garage, it was a memorable weekend in India for António Félix da Costa, who claimed his first podium for Porsche in his one-hundredth Formula E race.
Like his team-mate, Da Costa recovered from a poor qualifying to finish third. The Portuguese driver started the race in thirteenth and made incredible progress, to claim a podium he felt “happy and satisfied” with. Looking back on Hyderabad, Da Costa was thankful for the “support” his team gave him, with the driver being pleased with the “good progress” made at the recent round.
“It wasn’t so much relief that I felt but more happy and satisfied that the work with my team led to such a great result. But we’re not quite where we want to be. I still need to get to know the car better so that I can tap into its full potential. The support I receive from my team and engineers helps tremendously. We’re making good progress. It felt great to achieve my first podium for Porsche.”
After rising to ninth in the Drivers’ Championship following his podium, Da Costa will be hoping to move further up the leaderboard, given that his team-mate is currently leading the standings comfortably. Having claimed a podium in India, though, Da Costa will be confident that he can understand this weekend’s new track quickly, with him knowing that himself and the team “adjusted well” to the new venue in Hyderabad.
“A new circuit is always tricky, making meticulous preparation all the more important. Without being able to draw on experience from previous years, we have to do more foundation work in the simulator. That takes time. However, we adjusted well to the new circuit in Hyderabad and I’m very confident we’ll do the same in Cape Town. We’ve gained a lot of experience and we now know how the process works.”