The final moments of Saturday’s Mexico City E-Prix were “mega exciting”, according to Allan McNish, who said he has never witnessed such an end to a race in his three decades working in motorsports.
The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team principal presided over a shock win for his driver Lucas di Grassi who took the lead from Pascal Wehrlein just yards from the finish line.
“I’ve never seen a race like that, I really haven’t,” McNish told e-racing365.
“It was mega exciting whichever camp you are in and whichever way you look at it, it was a great race.”
McNish revealed that he focused on the finishing line as Wehrlein’s Mahindra M5Electro started to ramp down its remaining energy exiting the final corner.
“The first thing I looked at was the line, so I looked at the line and once that happened, the headset flew off, the radio hit the back of the unit because everybody jumped up and the back of the pit was basically destroyed,” he said.
“It was like when Manchester United came back in the Champions League [final] in 1999,” McNish said, referencing the English soccer club’s legendary last-minute comeback.
Nissan Woes Crucial to Race Win
McNish said that a combination of the efficiency of the Audi e-tron FE05 and the problems encountered by rival Nissan e.dams enabled the Audi factory team to score its first victory of the Gen 2 era.
“I think we were quick here and we were atop of it,” said McNish.
“We’ve got an efficient powertrain and we were in a good position towards the end of the races and that played a big a factor.
“Clearly, Nissan e.dams had miscalculated in terms of laps but it was still critically important that we passed them because there was no way to win otherwise.”
McNish explained that Formula E’s decision to not show the remaining energy graphics on the TV feed as much as was done in previous seasons caused added excitement and stress.
The TV graphic is the only knowledge that teams get about their competitors’ remaining energy levels.
“You don’t get a lot of information now,” he explained.
“It’s not like it used to be where the information would come up on the screen every three laps. It comes up in [graphic] blocks.”
McNish also described how he and his team had eyes on Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara who had the most efficient car in the race and completed the event with two percent of usable energy remaining.
“That’s when it became obvious where everybody was and the Venturi, Mortara, was the one that was really good,” he said.
“If there had been more of a hold up with Wehrlein then Mortara was 100 percent in the game for a crack at the win.”