Double interview: Thomas Laudenbach and Pascal Wehrlein, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team

Double interview: Thomas Laudenbach and Pascal Wehrlein, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team

16.02.2022: “The whole team can be very proud of themselves” At the Mexico City E-Prix, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team celebrated a phenomenal one-two result on 12 February with its two Porsche 99X Electric race cars.



“The whole team can be very proud of themselves”



At the Mexico City E-Prix, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team celebrated a phenomenal one-two result on 12 February with its two Porsche 99X Electric race cars.



After Porsche’s first victory in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, in a double interview, works driver Pascal Wehrlein and Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport, discuss the major success at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, the importance of teamwork and the next goals for this season.




How important is this victory for Porsche and what were the reasons for the strong performance in Mexico City?



Thomas Laudenbach
: “This is definitely an important win. There was pressure, no question. It took longer to score this maiden win than we’d hoped, so we’re very relieved to have achieved this now. We did nothing radically different compared to the other races, we simply added a few pieces to the jigsaw and that made the difference. For us, it’s now about repeating that again and again this season.



Pascal Wehrlein:
“It’s a tremendous feeling to have finally clinched our first victory, especially with a lead of almost ten seconds, which is huge by Formula E standards. It’s a relief for the whole team. Now we know we can be up with the frontrunners, so things should be easier for us as the season continues. That was a perfect weekend where everything came together. The whole team can be very proud of themselves.”




How did you find this weekend with your first victory as a Porsche works driver in the Porsche 99X Electric?


PW
: “We were competitive right from the outset. Our pace was already strong in the free practice sessions and the car felt great. What’s more, the changes we made from session to session were correct. We then implemented this perfectly in qualifying and claimed the best possible grid spot with pole position.


The race was simply perfect. We got off the line well at the start, kept out of trouble and didn’t allow ourselves to get flustered when two cars overtook us. We managed our energy optimally, so we were able to really pick up the pace in the second half of the race and ultimately score first and second place.”





How difficult was it to keep cool? And when did you realise that your strategy was working?


PW:
“When two cars overtook us I was a bit uncertain about our pace. But I was in constant radio contact with the team, who assured me that we were following the right strategy. When my engineer said after the first half of the race that we had more energy than our closest rivals, I was reassured.


 At that point, I knew that we were faster than our competitors. All I had to do then was pass the cars in front of us and bring home victory.”





Does this victory mark the end of the learning process for Porsche in Formula E and will it continue like this with more victories?



TL:
“You never stop learning in such a cutthroat championship. Things are constantly evolving and we have to keep up. Of course, I hope that we can establish ourselves at the top and win more races this season.



But it’s not easy in such a competitive field. It’s important that we earn points regularly and fight for the world championship title. Still, there won’t be one dominant team – not in this series.”






So you don’t see yourselves as favourites and you don’t still feel pressure in the fight for the title?



TL:
“No. We’ve underlined what we can do. This one-two result doesn’t put the team under more pressure. For us, it’s now a matter of continuing what we’ve started. If we can achieve that then I’ll be very happy.”



PW:
“I’m delighted that we are in such a strong position after three races this season. This simply confirms that the team did exemplary preparation work and that we kept improving. We’re all highly motivated. Every member of the team is doing their absolute best to put us in a position to ultimately fight for the world championship



That’s my personal goal, as well. I want to win as many races as I can and be crowned world champion. I’ll do everything to achieve this goal. I don’t see this as a burden, I see it as a huge motivation.”






How do you intend to maintain the momentum of this victory – especially having to wait until the next race in Rome on 9 April?



TL:
“I don’t think we have to do anything special. That was an extraordinary win, which involved neither luck nor coincidence. In this respect, the momentum is so high that it’ll last at least until Rome, I’m very confident about that. The break is actually good because what we’re doing is quite strenuous.



 I’m pleased that the team can catch their breath and revel in this victory for a while. But one thing is certain: we’ll head to Rome feeling very confident.”



PW:
“I can hardly wait to get back in the car and go racing. Still, I’m looking forward to this break. I’ll take a vacation for a few days and work on my fitness.”





Many wondered why André Lotterer didn’t attack his leading teammate in the final spurt. Was this a typical team order?



TL:
“We’ve waited more than two years for our first Formula E victory. An overtaking move in the final minutes of the race is always risky. Despite having a little more energy than Pascal, in this situation, André backed off. He’s a team player, so it’s a completely normal thing for him to do. I take my hat off to him for that and I’ve thanked him personally.



Should the situation be reversed at some point this season, the two will act in exactly the same way. They’re teammates, we expect this sort of behaviour from them. It’s simply how we treat each other at Porsche.”




Viktoria Wohlrapp- photos Formula E





 




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16.02.2022 / MaP

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