Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis began his title challenge with a perfect start in Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship as he took victory at the 2023 Hankook Mexico City E-Prix.
Dennis aims to become the first Briton to win the all-electric world championship, driving a virtually flawless race on the iconic Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit.
The race saw the debut of the GEN3 – the world’s most sustainable racing car – while a 40,000 capacity audience got a glimpse of the future of electric motoring. It also saw other changes to the championship’s format, including the introduction of laps, rather than the traditional timed race, and the elimination of FANBOOST.
But Dennis remained unphased and continued what was a phenomenal number of races for the 27-year-old to continue from the end of last season.
“The fans here have been sensational,” he said, taking in the post-race atmosphere. “In that last round I could really hear them cheering. To start on the front row and then win so much, with a Porsche one-two – big shout out to my team.
“It was such a physical race. These cars are so hard to drive physically and also with the lower grip it makes everything more challenging. But it’s even more satisfying, especially when you win by five seconds.
“My team and I have such a good relationship with each other. We just work so well. It didn’t look like it was going to happen in qualifying, we turned it around, made some minor adjustments for the race and absolutely got it right. Kudos to my boys, this is a small allowance for them and we hope to have more success as Saudi is not that far away. Time for some tequila with the team, an incredible race!”
Dennis moved up the grid from second to win the race ahead of TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team driver Pascal Wehrlein who started from sixth and finished second and Lucas di Grassi of Mahindra Racing who slipped from Julius Baer to pole position to to finish third.
The Andretti driver made what would be the race-winning move on lap 12, with the Brit taking advantage of a gap left by di Grassi. From there Dennis extended his lead, and for three Safety Car periods he was able to run away with the race lead, eventually edging Wehrlein by as much as seven seconds.
Last year’s winner in Mexico, Wehrlein pushed through to a final margin of 11 seconds over the third-placed di Grassi after moving up the grid from sixth. Both drive Porsche-powered cars, with the German manufacturer finishing in the top ten with four of their powertrains.
Although Di Grassi started from pole, he found himself on the defensive going into the final third of the race and it took all the deception of the Brazilian to get the attention of Jake Hughes of the NEOM McLaren Formula E Team during the closing stages to distract.
Eventually, the rookie would be preoccupied with Lotterer looming in his mirrors, easing the pressure on Di Grassi. Lotterer, who moved to the Porsche-powered Andretti team in the off-season, passed Hughes’ McLaren on the inside at the hairpin on the final lap.
Fifth place was no disappointment for Hughes on his debut; the rookie has been more than impressive since taking the McLaren seat during testing at Valencia. He led home a resurgent Sebastien Buemi – the Swiss who had moved from Nissan to Envision Racing over the winter.
Season 6 champion António Félix da Costa added to Porsche’s tally with a seventh-place finish on the day, fighting his way up through the points positions late in the race with a late ATTACK MODE.
Mitch Evans quietly took points to take eighth for Jaguar TCS Racing, Nick Cassidy made it two Envision Racing cars in the points with a ninth place, while reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne could only steer his DS PENSKE to a single point from 14th on the grid.
Rounds 2 and 3 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will take place in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday 27 January and Saturday 28 January.