The debut in Mexico City was not as expected for the DS PENSKE team. The team arrived at the Formula E season 9 opener with high expectations after adding reigning champion Stofel Vandoorne to its ranks, and showed interesting things in the preview held in Valencia.
The former Mercedes driver finished 14th, while his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne was 11th in a qualifying session that would set the tone for the race.
“Things started quite well in Free Practice, with both cars running in the top five in each session,” Vandoorne said.
“The car felt really good, but in qualifying we couldn’t get a clean lap when we needed it due to traffic. We didn’t manage to capitalize on what we knew we had in Free Practice performance,” said the pilot.
Related content: Kelvin van der Linde to Replace Frinjs in Diriyah
A Rough Road
For Vergne, he starred in an interesting duel with Sacha Fenestraz that ended in a collision. “It was my mistake, it definitely wasn’t on purpose,” said the only multiple Formula E champion.
“He went wide and I thought he would try to go up the inside, but the front wing of the car is much further away from the cockpit compared to GEN2 – that surprised me,” expressed Vergne.
After the incident things got worse with Vergne slowing off the line and sliding to 12th at the checkered flag . “This is not the result we were hoping for,” he added. “I fought hard to stay in the points and unfortunately on the last lap I had a battery problem just before the finish line. It’s very frustrating after giving everything to lose pointsthat will be very important at the end of the season.”
Despite the disappointing performance at the beginning of the Gen3 era, the team is calm because they have two drivers of proven category, added to an engineering staff that works hard to be a reference in this season.
DS PENSKE will seek to vindicate itself this weekend, when the imposing track of Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, hosts the second stop of Formula E this 2023, in a double day that will begin on Friday, January 27 and will end on Saturday, January 28.