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Can DS Penske take on a Porsche Formula E duel?

Since the beginning of the season, DS Penske has been one of only a few manufacturers able to challenge Porsche.

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske

DPPI

The trajectories of the French manufacturer and its German competitor are opposed in the world of electric single-seaters.

On the one hand, DS Automobiles, first associated with Virgin Racing and then with Techeetah before teaming up with Penske, has won everything in Formula E: 16 victories, 46 podiums, 21 pole positions and 4 titles in seven seasons and 5 races.

On the other hand, Porsche has had a much longer career in motorsport, highlighted by a record 19 victories at the Le Mans 24 Hours, but was unable to do so in Formula E: only one victory in its first three seasons.

After a low-key test in Valencia in December, the German team improved its statistics with a total of four wins, three pole positions and 11 podiums. This means that Porsche has won three out of five races since the start of the 2022-2023 championship, not counting the success of Jake Dennis for Andretti Autosport in Mexico City, whose electric single-seater is also powered by the Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen-based brand.

However, a closer look at Jean-Eric Vergne’s results for DS Penske show that Porsche's domination is not inevitable.

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske, 2nd position, Antonio Felix da Costa, Porsche, 1st position, Nick Cassidy, Envision Racing, 3rd position, on the podium

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske, 2nd position, Antonio Felix da Costa, Porsche, 1st position, Nick Cassidy, Envision Racing, 3rd position, on the podium

Photo by: DPPI

Is DS Penske finally ahead of Porsche?

This season more than any other, Formula E is a matter for specialists. The new Gen3 cars, which are more powerful, faster and more technological, are difficult to operate and the less experienced drivers are struggling. You only have to look at the world championship standings to see that.

Pascal Wehrlein, Jake Dennis, Jean-Eric Vergne, and Antonio Felix Da Costa are all expert of the series. Wehrlein dominated with two wins in Saudi Arabia this season, Dennis is one of the rising stars of the championship having arrived in 2021 and already has four wins, Vergne is the only two-time champion in the discipline, and Da Costa won his first world championship title with DS in the 2019- 2020 championship.

Also taking into account Andre Lotterer, who also drove for DS before moving to Porsche, and now to Andretti and Stoffel Vandoorne, reigning world champion with Mercedes and now with DS Penske, are not yet out of the woods, we can say that, apart from a few exceptions, the drivers who have moved on to DS Performance or Porsche are now the serious title candidates.

Does this mean that this season will turn into an exclusive duel between the two brands, especially in Sao Paolo, a track nobody knows?

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske

Photo by: DPPI

There is no reason for the leaders to drop out, but teams such as Envision Racing and McLaren could be in a position to disrupt proceedings. Envision has recruited veteran and 2015-2016 season champion Sebastien Buemi, and McLaren has taken over the structure from last year's world champion outfit previous run under the Mercedes name.

While McLaren’s drivers, Jake Hughes and Rene Rast, are not the ones with the most starts under their belt, they have a Nissan powertrain that also seems to be working well.

The young Sacha Fenestraz for Nissan demonstrated this by taking pole position in South Africa. In five races, Formula E has had five different polemen, none of whom have won the race.

This gives even more prestige to those who dominate the championship thanks to their regular results.

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