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Mexico City Post-Race Notebook

Sam Smith’s post-race notebook from Saturday’s Mexico E-Prix…

Photo: Formula E

***Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler enjoyed a huge points haul in Saturday’s Mexico City E-Prix, with Daniel Abt’s victory and Lucas di Grassi’s ninth place finish, plus the Brazilian’s fastest race lap, netting the team 28 points. That compares to the 12 points total the German squad collected entering the fifth round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

***Had Abt not been excluded in the second race in Hong Kong, he would be sitting third in the drivers’ championship, less than 20 points from leader Jean-Eric Vergne. Abt, meanwhile, became the first German driver to win in Formula E history.

***Vergne stretched his lead in the title fight to 12 points over Felix Rosenqvist with his fifth place finish despite suffering a “black-out” on the dash again. The Techeetah driver lost all information including the ‘beep’ system which drivers use to prompt them to save energy.

***Oliver Turvey scored the first-ever podium for NIO Formula E Team, under its current branding. Turvey lost the lead during the pit stop, when he explained he had an issue getting the second car into gear, which ultimately cost them upwards of three seconds.

***Renault e.dams’ Sebastien Buemi, who pressured Turvey in the closing stages en route to a third place result, said his car came alive in the second half of the race. It marked the Swiss driver’s 20th podium in Formula E history.

***Maro Engel rued another disappointing race where he again failed to register points. The Venturi driver was running in 11th when he suffered contact with di Grassi’s Audi e-tron FE04, which broke the rear wing of his car.

***Jerome d’Ambrosio had contact with teammate Jose-Maria Lopez in the pit lane after the Argentinian slowed with an apparent problem. “It was just a misunderstanding and nothing really bad but it set in motion a difficult drive in to the box and we lost about seven seconds which was a shame,” he told e-racing365. The Belgian eventually finished in 11th just ahead of Lopez.

***Nicolas Prost retired due to a broken wheel and damaged steering after being hit by Sam Bird at the first chicane. “[Sam] messed up and hit me but we are trying to stay positive after a tough weekend,” Prost told e-racing365. “I know I need to do better in qualifying especially but I think it will turn our way at some point.”

***Saturday’s race saw a massive turnout of fans. While an official attendance number has not been released, it’s understood to have eclipsed previous years. “It’s the third year in a row we’ve come here and I’ve never seen so many people,” Buemi said. “That means the fans like it and they come back. I’m really happy to see that. I think there were quite a bit more people compared to last year. I think Formula E is growing up and it’s a pleasure to be driving in the championship.”

***Ford Performance Global Motorsports Director Mark Rushbrook and a delegation of other Ford executives were in attendance this weekend. It comes amid e-racing365’s report that Ford has accelerated discussions of entering the championship, possibly as early as Season Five. “We continue to evaluate all global series and activities,” Rushbrook told e-racing365.

***Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag said they will continue to work to avoid potential date clashes with other major championships. Agag and FIA World Endurance Championship boss Gerard Neveu had a gentleman’s agreement in the past to avoid clashes as a number of drivers had taken part in both series. “We will always try to avoid clashes but now that Audi and Porsche are not in WEC it is less of a problem,” Agag told e-racing365.

***The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez featured prominent Porsche signage for the first time this season. The German giant also had a stand within the Allianz E-Village showcasing some of its EV tech related products.

***Porsche is readying for a Season Six entry and has already had team personnel attend several races so far this season.

***Both NIO and Panasonic Jaguar Racing had its official test and reserve drivers on hand in Mexico City. Ma Qing Hua and Ho-Pin Tung spent with its respective teams throughout the weekend, with Tung assisting in the promotion of the new Jaguar I-PACE.

***A representative from the Toronto World Trade Centre visited the paddock this weekend and held a meeting with senior Formula E staff about the possibility of a future race in Canada. Leigh Smout, the brother of Techeetah commercial chief Keith, is the executive director for the center, which comes under the auspices of the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

***Eliseo Salazar was back in the Formula E paddock three weeks after the Santiago E-Prix, in which he played a crucial part in making such a success. Negotiations have already begun between Formula E Holdings Ltd and the new Santiago government administration for a possible return in early 2019.

John Dagys contributed to this report

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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