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WEHRLEIN: Big Points Feel Good

Pascal Wehrlein writes up his thoughts on his noteworthy second place in Santiago…

Photo: Spacesuite Media/Mahindra

Santiago last weekend brought a really strong result for myself and Mahindra Racing with second place in very challenging conditions.

It was only my second start in Formula E, and in a sense my first real race after being taken out so early in the last race in Morocco.

Of course the result was nice but we are here to win, and I think we all know that at Mahindra Racing as we have tasted some real success recently.

I always want to achieve the best possible result. If I do mistakes, I do mistakes, If I crash, I crash, but if I go home and I know that I could have done better, that’s even worse!

I think we started already with quite a good baseline, so I was happy with that in practice as we headed in to qualifying.

The track was actually pretty good with a nice selection of corners, so well done to Formula E and the Chilean officials because it was a good challenge for us as drivers.

I was P2 in FP1 and then fifth in FP2, so we started competitively.

The Mahindra Racing team were really sharp from the get-go as usual and we felt confident as we went in to qualifying.

My laps were good but in Super Pole it wasn’t perfect and we qualified third.

Photo: Spacesuit Media/Mahindra

This became second after [Lucas] di Grassi got his penalty and then it was just a question on focusing for the start.

In Formula E there isn’t a huge amount you can influence in terms of the launch so I sat behind Buemi for the first few laps.

The conditions were really starting to effect the surface and it didn’t take long for the asphalt to start breaking up in the fierce heat.

We had to play a game of patience really and that is why [Sam] Bird got through in to second position.

There was a period when we had to deal with two Full Course Yellow situations which was a good chance to communicate with the team and get the latest on the temperatures.

Almost as soon as we re-started the second time [Sebastien] Buemi crashed in front of us I knew that I was in a good position to really fight for the lead and maybe get a good chance of winning.

With around ten minutes to go I was able to really apply some big pressure on Bird to see if he would crack but he is way too experienced for that.

At this stage the energy and temperatures were critical and both my engineer and Dilbagh [Gill] came on the radio and expressed their desire to get the car home in second rather than take major risks.

I think in the race, our approach was really good to save some energy in the beginning and then attack in the end. It almost paid off.

That’s a bit of a shame but with second place I can be more than happy.

Photo: Spacesuit Media/Mahindra

We are second now in the teams’ standings with a win and two podiums in the first three races, so it is obviously a really strong start, which is pretty cool.

Cool is a word which is funny to use here because the temperatures were just so extreme last Saturday at 100F!

For the drivers it was not a major issue because we have the wind in the cockpit and also 45 minutes and a lap is not a huge amount of time at the wheel.

Afterwards we had a long and positive debrief so that we can really capitalize on this great start and be sure to challenge for wins again in coming races.

This will not be easy because the competition is so, so strong in this championship.

Next we look forward to Mexico City, which will be the first time I have been back since the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix when I drove for Sauber.

I know the track uses only a small part of the F1 circuit but it is still good to be going somewhere I have been before.

The country is amazing, very colourful, vibrant and with a great appreciation of racing. A lot like Mahindra Racing really!


Photo: Formula E

Pascal Wehrlein is an ex-Formula 1 driver and open-wheel ace, driving for Mahindra Racing in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.



  1. Avatar


    February 2, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    It was a great result. I was wondering if Pascal would fall foul of energy saving and go backwards in the race because of not having any race experience, but it was a great performance in just his first race.

    It’ll be interesting to see how he manages it in a normal temperature race and how he can do with passing if he qualifies further back. It’s a shame Vandoorne has had so many car issues and rookie crashes because there have been glimpses of similar form but it’ll come for him I’m sure.

    • Avatar

      Kris G.

      February 3, 2019 at 11:24 am

      Yeah, all newbie F1 racers (Massa, Vandoorne and Wehrlein) had shown good pace so far with fast adaptation to the championship. Overall Mahindra has a better package than Venturi/HWA so wouldn’t expect Massa or Vandoorne to be a title contender for this season.

      Wehrlein adaptation to the car, energy management and FE race format (everything happening in the same day with few hours between FP1, FP2, Qualifying and Race) is really impressive but not surprisingly.

      This season promises to be a really good one and we’re just in the beginning.

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