The Debrief: Cape Town

Maserati MSG Racing debriefs Cape Town with support from Hewlett Packard Enterprise


The 2023 Cape Town E-Prix was motorsport’s definition of unfulfilled potential, and while the ingredients were there, the recipe for success didn’t quite come together for Maserati MSG Racing.


Although the weekend ultimately ended in disappointment, clear promise was present throughout, and strong pace over one lap and long distances provided some encouragement.


From placing inside the top two in three of the weekend’s four sessions, to leading our first laps of the season, an upward trajectory in performance is emerging.


Using insights from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Maserati MSG Racing Team Principal, James Rossiter, debriefs Cape Town’s inaugural Formula E race.


“Cape Town was the final part of quite an intense period this season and obviously, it was gutting to leave South Africa without scoring any points,” explains James.


“Before this season started, it was quite clear that we were very fast, so our pace in Mexico City came as a bit a shock, especially after a strong performance in Valencia.


“Since then, we’ve been working hard to improve our performance, but I think our true progress has been masked by a mixture of bad luck and mistakes.


“Our qualifying crashes in Saudi Arabia put us on the back foot for the remainder of that weekend, and this meant that it was very difficult to convert actual results.


“In Hyderabad, the performance was clearly there, but our race was then compromised through no fault of our own.


“Heading to Cape Town, we knew we had to pull everything together and deliver a perfect race weekend. That’s extremely difficult to do in Formula E, and we were reminded of that quite quickly.”


A compromised race after strong performances in practice and qualifying contributed to some frustration, although the pace of the Season 9 package did bring some optimism for the future.


“From my perspective, we were very well placed to deliver this weekend, and under those circumstances, it’s quite frustrating,” continues James.


“Edo was the fastest driver in FP1 and was second fastest in FP2, but his weekend was the compromised by the crash in qualifying.


“We managed to get the car repaired in time for the race, but unfortunately, a technical issue then forced us to retire the car. Sadly, we’ll never really know what could have been.


“After Edo’s crash, Max gave us our highlight of the season so far with the front row in qualifying. He’s driving well at the moment, and he drove a strong race.


“He did a good start, and with data insights from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, we were able to monitor Max’s energy consumption closely to accurately calculate how our strategy would evolve after the Safety Car.


“The Attack Modes were well timed, but shortly after the second activation, he made a mistake and tapped the wall which broke the rear suspension.


“It’s a big shame, because without that – and the penalty – I think a top-six result could have been on the cards. Looking at our pace closely, maybe even a podium or a win.


“Thinking in hindsight is something that we can’t afford to get caught up in.”


The completion of the Cape Town E-Prix brings about a four-week break in the season, and a key window for teams to optimise their packages ahead of the second quarter of the campaign.


For Maserati MSG Racing, this time will be well-spent to regroup and reset to approach the coming São Paulo weekend with a new attitude.


“We have a bit of a break in the season now, and it’s important that we take this time to regroup and reset so we can tackle the coming races with a refreshed mindset,” adds James.


“The first five races have been quite gruelling for everyone, and with a bit of time away from the track, I’m confident that we can bounce back and achieve the results we know we’re capable of.


“We have a very good understanding of the Gen3 car and our package. We know how to get the car and tyres into the right window, and we know how to extract our pace.


“The hardest thing to do in motorsport is to create a fast car, and we know that our engineering team has done exactly that.


"We have 11 races to go, Formula E is unpredictable, and there’s time for us to get this season back on track. We won’t stop until we do that, and in Brazil, we’re going to show what we can do.”