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A good start to the season for DS Penske

The Franco-American team has made a successful start to the season by placing its two DS E-Tense FE23s in the points. The pace and reliability of the cars are reassuring for the rest of the championship.

Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

Photo by: DPPI

Fully pumped up. Like the rest of the team, after encouraging simulator sessions, Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne arrived at the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City with firm intentions. "We've worked tirelessly and we have every reason to believe in ourselves," commented Stoffel Vandoorne before the race. "Of course, we know that our rivals have made progress too, but we've learnt an enormous amount in our first year with Gen3. We feel that the team is determined and stronger, and that gives us a positive start to the championship."

This weekend, apart from the fact that it was the first race of the season, there were a few key elements to take into consideration. First of all, the geographical location of the circuit: situated at an altitude of 2,200 metres, Mexico City's air composition is a little poorer in oxygen. This dries out the body, can lead to headaches, and affects the cooling quality of the cars. It's also a place where temperatures vary greatly. "Between practice at 7:30 in the morning and the race in the afternoon, there can be a very big difference in temperature," continues Vandoorne. "The track changes a lot and you have to qualify as well as possible to give yourself a chance of finishing well placed."

Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske, Jean-Eric-Vergne, DS Penske

Photo by: DPPI

Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske, Jean-Eric-Vergne, DS Penske

The science of racing

The first free practice session (Friday afternoon), interspersed with two red flags, didn't allow an initial hierarchy take shape. So, the following morning, after a few warm-up laps, the set-up of the cars really got underway. During this session, the times fell fairly quickly, close to last year's pole position, but more than a second off the circuit record. Vandoorne and Vergne, fifth and eighth, were less than half a second off the reference time, which suggests that the DS Penske drivers were cautious. In qualifying, Vandoorne advanced to the quarter-finals, but JEV was 13 hundredths of a second off the pace. Qualifying eighth and 10th on the grid, the two men then drove an intelligent race, with Vergne managing to gain four places and cross the finish line in sixth position.

"I'm pleased with the progress I've made with my car's race mode," said JEV after the finish. "I didn't do too well in qualifying, but we made up four places thanks to our good strategy during the race. It's a shame that you can't overtake easily on this circuit with this type of car, because I had a pace and energy that could have resulted in a better position at the finish."

Jean-Eric-Vergne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

Photo by: DPPI

Jean-Eric-Vergne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

Vandoorne's eighth place also deserves a spotlight, as the 2022 world champion began a new collaboration this weekend with Kyle Wilson-Clarke, Pascal Wehrlein's former Porsche engineer, who moved to DS Penske at the beginning of January. Maintaining his starting position, despite the fact that the two men have only been working together for a few days, also augurs well for the rest of the season.

In a fortnight time, Formula E will return to the Diriyah track, on the outskirts of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, for two races starting in the late afternoon, once night has fallen.

Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske

Photo by: DPPI

Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske

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