The countdown is over. Our preparations are complete. We’ve touched down in Mexico City, and Formula E’s landmark 10th season is about to begin.
The first weekend of a new campaign in motorsport can only be described as intoxicating. The intense excitement and overwhelming anticipation couples together perfectly.
Such a pairing always packs a punch.
But like a new year, a new season brings fresh opportunities. It’s the perfect chance to turn a new page, all with the hope of setting a rhythm by starting as you mean to go on.
At Maserati MSG Racing, we have high hopes for Season 10. Our ambition matches our energy and outlook, and quite naturally, we’re ready to raise the bar.
In Mexico City, questions will be answered. Using insights powered by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, this is what you should watch out for during the opening race weekend of the 2024 season.
During pre-season testing at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, we saw each team in their Season 10 glory for the first time, and throughout our week in Valencia, we also saw a tremendous amount of running.
But in Mexico City, things will be different. The gloves are coming off, and for the first time since the London E-Prix last July, we’ll be racing wheel-to-wheel with intent.
Although testing painted an early performance picture, it failed to show a true running order, but at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez, the puzzle will come together. It will be complete.
Due to different track conditions, however, we should expect that some aspects of performance from testing will change. Adapting to this quickly and with versatility will be critical.
Expect to see every team on the grid maximise their data collection in practice, because once we go into qualifying, there’s no turning back.
To the untrained eye, different circuit conditions can appear to be trivial, but we mean it when we say it: The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is unlike any other circuit we’ll race on in 2024.
Situated more than two-kilometres above sea level, the track has the highest altitude of any venue on the Season 10 calendar, and this will have a major impact on car performance.
Mexico City’s high altitude means that the air is extremely thin, and as a result, cars will be exposed to less drag as soon as we start running.
Facing less drag will increase a car’s top speed on straights, but more importantly, the lower air resistance will increase the amount of energy we can save.
Consequently, we’ll not only be able to run at higher speeds, but we’ll be able to run a more energy efficient race. It’s a win-win situation, but it also comes with a trade-off.
Alongside the benefits of higher top speeds and improved energy efficiency, having less drag also reduces downforce, and on a technical circuit like Mexico City, this can pose a disadvantage.
Less downforce will decrease tyre load, and this, in turn, can pose a critical problem in corners due to more sliding.
Not only is sliding through turns detrimental to lap time, but it can also cause tyres to overheat, and when tyres are outside of their optimal operating window, performance can nosedive.
In Formula E, overheated tyres can even impact energy consumption and efficiency, and therefore, affect race strategy. As such, finding a compromise on car setup is key in this situation.
By finding a careful balance, we will be able to extract the benefit of improved straight-line speed and better energy efficiency, all while maintaining balanced tyre temperatures.
Unlocking and uncovering this area of performance will be the key to optimising our weekend.
In Formula E, overtaking is the name of the game, and with a variety of straights and heavy braking zones, Mexico City is the perfect circuit for racing.
During a lap of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez, the right-hander of Turn One is the best place to overtake, but with a bit of courage, it is also possible to pass in Turns Three and 12.
In the 2023 Mexico City E-Prix – the first race of Formula E’s Gen3 era – we saw that overtaking can sometimes be challenging, however. This is where a good strategy comes into play.
Having an energy advantage over other drivers will bring a key competitive edge in arace situation, but while we want to save energy, we also want to efficiently spend energy to optimise lap time.
Finding a consistent and competitive rhythm between consumption and conservation will be critical. This in itself is a long game.
Finding our energy management balance requires a certain approach, and when we go into a race weekend, we have two performance goals in mind.
The first is to unlock raw performance and speed in push laps. To achieve a good result in qualifying, which can open opportunities in the race, this step is essential.
Our second goal is to be quick on energy saving laps in race conditions. Ultimately, if we lack speed in this situation, our hopes will be compounded in the race.
To achieve our second step, we need to compromise. Formula E is about compromise, and every race always demands a measured outlook. We need to be prepared for every scenario.
Balancing deployment with recovery is only one piece of the puzzle, but with real-time insights from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, we can effectively monitor the development of our race to evolve and adapt our strategy and respond accordingly.
With the success we tasted in Season 9, we’re more than well equipped to tackle the task at hand, and with cutting-edge technology, we’re set to hit the ground running in Mexico.