Formula E: Mortara tops Practice 1 in Cape Town

The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship returns this weekend for a first appearance in Cape Town, South Africa. With the beautiful Table Mountain as the backdrop, Maserati MSG Racing’s Edoardo Mortara topped the timesheets with a time of 1m09.700s in Free Practice 1.

It’s the first time in Season 9 that one of the Maserati cars has topped a session, despite the team looking strong during pre-season testing. Mortara’s teammate, Maximilian Guenther, finished the session in seventh place for good measure.

Fresh from a disappointing result in Hyderabad last time out, Jaguar TCS Racing’s Sam Bird was on a mission and finished the Friday practice in second, 0.158s off Mortara’s time. Sacha Fenestraz of Nissan also had a good FP1, slotting into third on the timesheets. Both Nissan cars managed to get in the top 10, an achievement also seen by Jaguar, NIO 333 and Maserati.

Just minutes into FP1, Envision Racing’s Sebastian Buemi brought out the red flags after a heavy impact with the walls of this rapid street circuit between Turn 9 and 10. The incident destroyed the right side of his car, with the Envision team likely in for a long night ahead to get it repaired for tomorrow’s action.

The Season 2 Formula E champion and top average qualifier so far this season was very apologetic on the team radio and is fresh from the disappointment of losing out on a podium place in Hyderabad after a post-race penalty for “overpower usage”.

Once the session resumed, with another ten minutes added for the delay to running, most of the grid set out to get as much experience on this 2.921km track as possible. However, the green flag conditions didn’t last long as home hero ABT CUPRA’s Kelvin van der Linde came to a halt.

The 26-year-old South African reported a driveshaft issue and stopped on the corner of Turn 7. Not going anywhere, FP1 was once again red-flagged to rescue his ABT CUPRA before the session once again got going with five minutes left on the clock.

Mahindra Racing’s Lucas di Grassi ended his session early as he reported problems with his GEN3 machine. Parking at the chicane, di Grassi said he’d had a “suspension and rear-end failure” and that the “car was bouncing on the ground, but I managed to save it.”

Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis’ FP1 was also impacted by problems, with the driver sitting second in the Drivers’ World Championship not getting many laps in. The team that uses TAG Heuer Porsche powertrains have been very competitive so far this season, with Dennis winning the first race in Mexico City and finishing second in both races at the Diriyah doubleheader.

Free Practice 2 gets underway at 09:10 local time tomorrow, with qualifying following at 11:40 and the Cape Town E-Prix Round 5 at 16:00.

Practice 1 Results

1 Edoardo Mortara Maserati Msg Racing 1m09.700 0.000
2 Sam Bird Jaguar TCS Racing 1m09.858 0.158
3 Sacha Fenestraz Nissan Formula E Team 1m09.887 0.187
4 António Félix Da Costa Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 1m09.994 0.294
5 Dan Ticktum Nio 333 Racing 1m10.021 0.321
6 René Rast Neom Mclaren Formula E Team 1m10.138 0.438
7 Maximilian Günther Maserati Msg Racing 1m10.139 0.439
8 Sérgio Sette Câmara Nio 333 Racing 1m10.179 0.479
9 Norman Nato Nissan Formula E Team 1m10.199 0.499
10 Mitch Evans Jaguar TCS Racing 1m10.375 0.675
11 Pascal Wehrlein Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 1m10.375 0.675
12 Nick Cassidy Envision Racing 1m10.533 0.833
13 Jake Hughes Neom Mclaren Formula E Team 1m10.684 0.984
14 Stoffel Vandoorne DS Penske 1m10.801 1.101
15 Jake Dennis Avalanche Andretti Formula E 1m11.409 1.709
16 Jean-Éric Vergne DS Penske 1m11.485 1.785
17 André Lotterer Avalanche Andretti Formula E 1m11.506 1.806
18 Nico Müller ABT Cupra Formula E Team 1m11.722 2.022
19 Oliver Rowland Mahindra Racing 1m11.955 2.255
20 Kelvin Van Der Linde ABT Cupra Formula E Team 1m11.991 2.291
21 Sébastien Buemi Envision Racing 1m25.559 15.859
22 Lucas Di Grassi Mahindra Racing 1m28.390 18.690