The 2023 London E-Prix was the last dance. It was the final chapter. It marked the closing notes of a tune of epic scale, packed with excitement, drama, and raw emotion.
Such a crescendo carries anticipation – it grips onlooker and participant alike, and it barely stops to catch a breath.
Season 9’s finale was one of the most unpredictable and chaotic weekends of the season, yet Maserati MSG Racing still put on a comeback for the ages.
Using insights from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Team Principal, James Rossiter, reviews the last race weekend of 2023.
“It seems like it was only yesterday that we were in Valencia for pre-season testing, but after 16 races, Season 9 is over,” says James.
“As far as seasons in Formula E go, the first half and second half of 2023 couldn’t have been any more different for us, and we executed a very strong recovery after a disappointing start.
“We had been through quite the journey, and coming into London, we were fortunate to have good momentum after finishing on the podium and scoring some good points in Rome.
“But at the ExCeL, we faced quite a few difficult moments, but we’ll be able to rest easy in the off-season, knowing that we gave our all throughout the weekend.
“The ExCeL is one of the shortest tracks on the calendar. It’s very narrow, there aren’t many overtaking opportunities, and energy management isn’t an extreme factor during races.
“Because of this, we knew that qualifying well would be important, but unfortunately, we missed out on the duels in both races which left us with some work to do.”
On Saturday, Edoardo Mortara and Maximilian Günther started from 11th and 14th but with good pace and efficiency, enjoyed a competitive and promising run throughout.
Mitigating circumstances, however, reduced Maserati MSG Racing’s projected points haul, although a good recovery showed our real pace.
“Saturday’s race was one of the most chaotic and also one of the most frustrating races of the season for us because our ultimate performance was impacted by circumstances beyond our control,” explains James.
“Edo made a fantastic start to go from 11th to ninth on lap one, but he was taken out in Turn One by a car which missed its braking point completely.
“The hit to the rear was quite hard, and I’m surprised that he was able to continue, but he pitted for repairs, rejoined at the back, and the first Safety Car really played into our hands.
“With two red flags, and the Safety Car, the race was quite complex to manage, but with real-time data insights from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, we were able to adapt our strategy and respond to the race’s evolution accordingly to maximise our pace and efficiency.
“Edo did an excellent recovery drive to eventually finish fifth in the race, which, after the accident, seemed unachievable, but it shows why we never give up as a team.
“Max was doing a great job inthe race and battled up to seventh, but he was forced to change his front wing during the first Red Flag.
“This meant that he resumed the race in 15th which significantly impacted his progress, and without the change, I’m confident that he was on for a top five finish.
Light rain at the end of qualifying negatively impacted the team’s starting position for Race Two, but when the weather conditions deteriorated further late afternoon, a shadow of doubt was cast over Sunday.
“In many ways, Sunday was very different to Race One, and when it started to rain heavily, we knew that we were in for quite a difficult afternoon.
“Race Two was run over a shorter distance, and in Formula E, rain heavily reduces the need for energy management.
“Combining that with the lack of overtaking opportunities, it was very hard for any driver to make any real progress during the race.
“Edo was running 10th at one point, but a loss in traction unfortunately meant that he lost that position to [Dan] Ticktum, and we finished 11th and 14th.
“The conditions were extremely treacherous, and although we didn’t score any points, the driving skill that Edo and Max showed was very impressive.”
After amassing 140 points during the season – 137 of which were scored in the second half – Maserati MSG Racing recovered to finish sixth in the World Teams’ Championship, and narrowly missed out on the top five.
Reflecting on the past 16 races, James explains that he has an emotion of absolute pride, but already has his eyes set on a executing a stronger Season 10.
“I’m proud of what we’ve achieved this season. It was by no means easy, but the effort that every team member has put in is truly inspirational.
“Our turnaround in form came from so much hard work, and I can’t begin to describe how proud I am to work alongside such a talented and motivated group of people.
“I’ve said it multiple times this season, but we learn the most on the difficult days. It’s the tough days that allow us to come back stronger, and it’s on those days that our opponents should be worried.
“The entire team deserves a good break before we go into Season 10, but motorsport – and especially Formula E – never stops.
“We’re a team of racers, we love what we do, and we’re already excited for 2024 which holds an endless number of opportunities.”