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The “frank discussions” needed for Andretti to continue its Formula E Porsche relationship

The news that Andretti would continue its collaboration in Formula E with Porsche did not come as a surprise to many given the success both teams have enjoyed in the Gen3 era. But clear the air talks have been needed to ensure the continuation of the relationship going forward for the next two years

Porsche Team and Andretti Formula E team group photo

Photo by: Andretti

Michael Andretti’s face of thunder as he stormed down to the Porsche garage was just as memorable as the celebrations that soon followed after Jake Dennis secured his maiden Formula E title in London last season.

The incident that prompted such rage from the founder of the Andretti Formula E team had centred around Porsche factory driver Pascal Wehrlein’s tactics at a crucial moment of the race. Once the dust had settled, Andretti accepted it had been a misunderstanding, both teams having agreed pre-race to aid Dennis’s championship efforts if needed with the American team a customer outfit to Porsche.

Fast forward to the present day and Andretti has announced it will continue its collaboration with Porsche for the next two seasons, taking it up until the end of the Gen3 regulations.

While such an announcement was hardly surprising, it was one that needed to be made after the original deal was signed under the cloud that Porsche had yet to confirm if it would participate in the all-electric championship until the end of 2026.

If Porsche decided not to continue, Andretti would be left in the very difficult position of trying to find a new powertrain supplier in the middle of a regulation cycle – the Gen3 Evo next season an updated version of the car used in the previous two campaigns.

It was a gamble for Andretti – having jumped from BMW power in 2022 after the Munich firm pulled out – but one which paid off with title success, its first in Formula E, and has kept it towards the front in 2024.

Michael Andretti was a key part of the clear the air talks with Porsche going into the current Formula E season

Michael Andretti was a key part of the clear the air talks with Porsche going into the current Formula E season

Photo by: Andreas Beil

But underneath the surface and behind the scenes, work has been put in to make sure that the relationship between the two teams, from drivers down to the mechanics and engineers, remains amicable, respectful, and perhaps most importantly, beneficial towards the goal of success in Formula E.

Not only has this included several meetings between staff from each team but a WhatsApp group was created for drivers Dennis, Wehrlein, Antonio Felix da Costa and Norman Nato to better help with communication and race strategies.

“The end of last season, we obviously had a lot of successes on track with the championship with Jake and all the rest of it, but we had to work through some of the challenges that we’d had off track if you like,” says Andretti team principal Roger Griffiths to Autosport.

"The focus has been building on the collaboration that we intended to have through Season 9 and probably didn’t get as far along as we’d hoped, and we certainly made significant in-roads in improving that relationship over the last six months" Roger Griffiths

“We successfully got through that, I think we had some very open and frank discussions, almost on a race-by-race basis, we went through the whole of Season 9 with Thomas Laudenbach [vice president of Porsche] and myself and Michael Andretti and all concerned.

“Talked through it all, saw it from each other’s point of view, had a big reset over the off-season and then really came together in Valencia last November [for pre-season]. Got both sets of engineers, mechanics all together, had a big team meeting if you like and really laid out how we expected the season to work.

“How we expected people to cooperate together including drivers, then all went out for food and beer and cemented the relationship and it’s been strong ever since.”

The Porsche and Andretti squads have bonded since the fractious London E-Prix last year

The Porsche and Andretti squads have bonded since the fractious London E-Prix last year

Photo by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images

The new agreement had been signed for some time but that it came ahead of Porsche’s home race in Berlin was just the beginning of the PR machine rolling into action this week. Engineers and mechanics from both teams merged to create two football squads, one managed by Dennis and da Costa, the second by Wehrlein and Nato – the score a resounding 8-1 to the ‘Kilowatt Kings’ on Wednesday evening.

A group photo sent with the press release of both Formula E squads together in the pitlane wearing their respective team gear only served to underline the message that there are two teams working together as one and towards the same goal.

It’s a message that Griffiths is fully onboard with, believing “we’re out there to beat 18 other cars before we start trying to beat each other”. Knowing just how competitive the rest of the Formula E grid remains at the halfway point of the season, with six teams having taken victory at least once from eight races, the Andretti man is fully aware of the challenges ahead.

“I don’t think there was really any doubt in our minds that we would continue, it’s just really under what terms and what conditions and what the relationship would look like,” adds Griffiths.

“And really the focus has been building on the collaboration that we intended to have through Season 9 and probably didn’t get as far along as we’d hoped, and we certainly made significant in-roads in improving that relationship over the last six months or so, really from the start of the season.

“We recognised that Jaguar and Envision were going to be a tough competition, along with Maserati and DS Penske as well, so we had to ensure that we were all pulling together and doing things that were right for the Porsche group if you like.”

For now, Andretti and Porsche are backing to operating in partnership

For now, Andretti and Porsche are backing to operating in partnership

Photo by: Dom Romney / Motorsport Images

With the deal signed and previous problems in the past, at least for now, the bigger question will be how the relationship develops into the future, starting with the remainder of this season.

At the halfway point Wehrlein leads the drivers’ standings with Dennis only 13 points behind as the Porsche brand occupies top spot in the newly created Manufacturers’ Trophy by eight points from Jaguar.

Based on the previous eight races, the prospect that both squads will be fighting for at least one title come July’s London finale seems increasingly likely

The Big Cat enters the Berlin E-Prix double-header off the back of an impressive 1-2 in Monaco, underlining the challenge that faces Porsche and Andretti if either hopes to walk away with any crowns this season.

Based on the previous eight races, the prospect that both squads will be fighting for at least one title come July’s London finale seems increasingly likely, and just what transpires in those crucial races may have a significant impact on the working relationship that both teams have committed to for the next two years.

Can the Andretti and Porsche relationship maintain its settled status through another title battle?

Can the Andretti and Porsche relationship maintain its settled status through another title battle?

Photo by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images

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