The Debrief: A strong showing in Mexico City

Maserati MSG Racing’s award winning Chief Engineer, Cyril Blais, debriefs Mexico City with insights powered by Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Following months of intrigue and immense anticipation, the FIA Formula E World Championship is back, and in a flash, the season-opening Mexico City E-Prix is complete.

From a competitive top-five finish for Maximilian Günther to a strong debut weekend for Jehan Daruvala, we departed Mexico City satisfied, safe in the knowledge that we left very little on the table.

Following the event, and with preparations for the Diriyah E-Prix already underway, our Chief Engineer, Cyril Blais, debriefs the season opener using insights powered by Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

“Mexico City was a very positive weekend for us,” says Cyril. “We came into the race having learned a great deal since Season 9, and we left feeling confident, knowing that we’re heading in the right direction.

“The first weekend of a new season is incredibly important, not just because it’s our first chance to get points, but because it’s our first on-track opportunity to validate our work since testing.

“The second half of our Season 9 was very strong for us as a team, and in the winter, we worked hard to capitalise on our strengths while working hard to address our weaknesses.

“Our results in Mexico City validated our work and given that the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez has never really suited our package, we took this as a really good sign.”

After maximising our data collection in practice, a clinical performance from Max in a crucial qualifying session opened up a host of points-scoring opportunities in the race.

“Mexico is a circuit that is heavily reliant upon track position,” continues Cyril, “and because there isn’t much energy saving required in the race, there isn’t much overtaking. This meant it was very important to start at the front.

“Max understood this situation, and he did a brilliant job throughout the weekend. Despite running into some trouble and losing some track time in FP1, he bounced back very well on Saturday.

“He set the second-fastest time in FP2, and then built on his speed in qualifying to set the fastest time in his group to progress to the duels and eventually start the race from third.

“The data insights we received from Hewlett Packard Enterprise played a critical role in helping us to optimise our pace from Friday to Saturday, and because of this, we were able to enter the race with a complete performance picture.

“Starting so close to the front of the grid opened up a lot of opportunities for us, and from that position, we knew that we could be in for a good result.”

By holding third at the start, Max pressured both Pascal Wehrlein and Sebastien Buemi in the battle for victory, but unfortunately missed out on the podium after losing track position with his second Attack Mode activation.

“In the first part of the race we found that it would be very difficult to take Attack Mode without conceding track position, and at times, it was hard to build the gap required,” explains Cyril.

“We had Nick Cassidy and Mitch Evans running close together behind us, and because both of their cars were together, Jaguar were able to play a smart team game to optimise their race.

“They did that perfectly and it was very hard to counteract it, so when we lost track position on the second Attack Mode, we knew that it would be difficult to take back third.

“At the same time, I think we could have done better strategically in this scenario, but we’ve learned our lesson. That’s something that will only make us stronger for the rest of the season.”

While Max finished fourth, Jehan enjoyed a successful debut in Formula E and maximised every on-track opportunity to further improve his knowledge and understanding of the Maserati Tipo Folgore.

“Formula E can be very difficult for rookies just because there is very little track time each weekend, so for Jehan, the most important thing was for him to get more mileage in the car,” says Chief Engineer, Cyril.

“There are a lot of different factors to contend with, and even the track evolution we face means that his driving references are constantly changing. There’s always something he’ll need adapt to.

“Jehan’s main target was to get through every session without trouble, and to deliver a clean race, and that’s what he did. We couldn’t ask him for any more.

“He’s learned a lot from this weekend, and each race he’ll take another step forward. His confidence will grow, and he’ll only get stronger as the season progresses.”

With the first of 16 races complete, Formula E will next reconvene in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, on 26-27 January for the first double-header event of Season 10. Our preparations are already in full-swing.

“From now, our full focus will be on data analysis so we can identify what we did right, what we did wrong, and where and how we can improve our performance for Diriyah,” concludes Cyril.

“Preparation is one of the most important aspects of Formula E, and a well-prepared team is often a successful team.

“We need to focus on the job in front of us, maximise the time we have available, use it well, stay focussed and make the most of every opportunity that comes our way in the next race.”