Marrakesh E-Prix Preview: Round 10 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
After a two year break, Formula E returns to the fascinating Moroccan metropolis.
Sweltering conditions over 35 degrees celsius puts focus on battery temperatures and efficiency.
In 2020, André Lotterer scored points for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team in Marrakesh.
Stuttgart. Amidst sand and souks, palaces and mosques Formula E returns to Morocco on July 2 after a two year break. The Marrakesh E-Prix was first held in 2016 as part of the UN Climate Change Conference COP22 and has reappeared on the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship calendar this year as a replacement for the cancelled race in Vancouver.
At the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team will field two Porsche 99X Electric racers helmed by André Lotterer (GER/#36) and Pascal Wehrlein (GER/#94) in temperatures expected above 35 degrees celsius. After hard-earned points at the start of the latter half of the season in Jakarta, Florian Modlinger now hopes for top results from his drivers in Marrakesh. “We don’t look at the overall standings,” says the Director Factory Motorsport Formula E. “Instead we try to catch up on points with decent individual results from race to race.”
In the drivers’ standings of the world’s first electric racing series, André Lotterer ranks seventh with 59 points as he heads in to the tenth of 16 races. Pascal Wehrlein follows in eighth place with 55 points. In the team standings, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team lies fifth with 114 points. *
Q&A on the Marrakesh E-Prix
Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E
You had a difficult start to the second half of the season in Jakarta. Now comes the next hot race. How will you deal with it?
“It’s possible we may encounter heat as extreme as in Jakarta not only in Marrakesh but also in New York and Seoul this season. We’re working hard to build on our performances from the first half of the season, even in such conditions. Our goal must be to fight for podiums and victories at every race.”
You last competed in Marrakesh in 2020. What experiences from those races could you now use to prepare?
“Generally, data from previous races is always a good source of information, especially if the track hasn’t changed. We use the information in our preparation, for example, in assessing the level of grip, in developing tyre pressure and temperatures, and the balance of the car. The rookie test after the previous Marrakesh race also provided critical insights. Irrespective of this, we use the simulator intensively to prepare. It’s very helpful for us to use data from the past as a basis for comparison.”
André Lotterer, Porsche works driver (#36)
In the first half of the season, you were the only driver to make it into all qualifying duels. How frustrating was it to break that record in Jakarta?
“At the end of the day, it’s just a statistic. However, the fact that I was only three-thousandths of a second off in Jakarta really annoyed me. Now, I’m hoping that I can get back into the duels in Marrakesh. I can still become the driver with the most duels this season. That’s also a challenge.”
How do you view the situation in the overall standings?
“Of course, we’d like to be further up the field. But Monaco threw a spanner in the works when neither of the cars got across the finish line. My time penalty in Jakarta didn’t help either. In this extremely competitive world championship, you simply have to score points at every race or you’ll fall behind. Hopefully, we’ll be able to add to our points tally in Marrakesh.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94)
You’ve already driven in Marrakesh in 2019 and 2020. What memories do you have of the track?
“I know the track well and I know what we need to be successful. My experience at the track definitely helps us. However, the 2019 race was in January and the 2020 race was in February – so the heat wasn’t nearly as intense as what awaits us this time. Efficiency will play a big role. The track shares similarities with Mexico and things went perfectly for us there.”
How do you view your season to date?
“We got off to a strong start with team one-two result in Mexico as the highlight. In the following races we didn’t manage to reach our full potential. As a result, we missed out on a lot of points. Of course, the most painful thing was my retirement while I was leading in Monaco. Nevertheless, I believe in our team. The season is still long and together we can still achieve a lot – including winning races.”
At 2.971 kilometres, the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan is one of the longest tracks on the Formula E calendar. The layout is a combination of a permanent race track and public roads. The circuit, which runs along the historic city wall in the north of Marrakesh, is somewhat atypical for Formula E. It features three straights and twelve turns – some very fast, others very slow – with excellent overtaking opportunities. The right setup and prudent energy management are key factors on this track. The high track and air temperatures will also take a toll on the tyres.
Live TV and Internet coverage
The worldwide broadcasting schedule of the Formula E event in Marrakesh is available on: https://www.fiaformulae.com/watch/ways-to-watch.
The media service
The first photos from Marrakesh will be available on the Porsche press database on July 1. The race report will follow on July 2 (race 10). Further information about the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team will be posted live on the Twitter channel @PorscheFormulaE. All relevant information about the team, the drivers and the racing series can be found in the updated Porsche Formula E Media Guide on media.porsche.com/formulae. The content will be regularly updated over the course of the season and expanded with additional interactive material.
The Porsche 99X Electric
With the Porsche 99X Electric, Porsche returned to open-wheel single-seater racing in 2019 after more than 30 years. The fully-electric racing car sporting the Weissach-developed Porsche E Performance Powertrain also serves as a development platform for the sports car manufacturer’s fully-electric production models. Energy management and efficiency are important factors for success in Formula E and in the development of production cars. For the 2021/2022 season, the 99X Electric has a maximum output of 250 kW in qualification mode and 220 kW in normal race mode. Attack Mode boosts the output to 250 kW. Maximum recuperation is 250 kW; the usable battery capacity is 52 Kilowatt-hours.
Porsche Taycan Turbo S as the new safety car
Porsche is committed to Formula E safety: With the all-electric Taycan Turbo S, the sports car manufacturer supplies the official safety car this season and underlines the importance of Formula E for Porsche Motorsport. Thanks to its driveability and safety as well as an output of up to 560 kW (761 PS), Porsche’s first all-electric sports car is the ideal choice as a safety car in the world’s first electric racing series. With Launch Control, the flagship model of the Taycan range accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 260 km/h. The striking paintwork incorporates the colours of all eleven competing teams as well as the FIA and Formula E colours. The design symbolises the joint commitment to the future of all-electric motor racing as well as social values such as diversity and community.
Formula E is the world’s first fully-electric racing series bringing thrilling motorsport to people living in major cities since 2014. As an accelerator for innovative and sustainable technologies of mobility, it promotes the worldwide acceptance of electric vehicles with the aim to counteract climate change. The format is compact: practice, qualifying and race all take place on one day. Each race usually runs over 45 minutes plus one lap. Eleven teams tackle the 2021/2022 season with 22 drivers. This makes for interesting and hotly contested races. This marks the third season for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team campaigning the Porsche 99X Electric.
* Following a further review by the FIA - André Lotterer's 5-second penalty at the Jakarta E-Prix has been cancelled on 30 June. As a result, André’s 9th place finishing position is awarded back to him and the team - each with 2 championship points. Updated standings: 5th place in team standings (116 points); 7th place for André Lotterer in driver standings (61 points).
More information, film footage and photos in the Porsche Newsroom: newsroom.porsche.com