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In our rearview mirror: ABB FIA Formula E Season 8 recap

The sounds of Seoul’s spectacular finale to the 2022 ABB FIA Formula E Championship are still ringing in our ears. As the dust settles, let’s recap the most exciting season yet, with a closer look at how the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team performed.

Season 8 began with high hopes for all. Exciting changes to the racing format promised even more intense action in the Qualifying, with pole positions in the main races based purely on “fastest car first.” Added to that, the cars were faster too, with race power increased to 220KW and attack mode boosted is 250KW. Everything was in place for the most exciting season to date.

The double-headed premiere in Saudi Arabia at the end of January did not disappoint: a sensational weekend of racing around the weathered walls of the ancient historic city of Diriyah, with both events held at night to counter the merciless desert sun. Drivers André Lotterer and Pascal Wehrlein both performed well in the Qualifying and stayed up at the front of the pack in the races. Ultimately though, they slipped down a few places, beset with power management issues, no doubt exacerbated by the extreme weather conditions.

Of course, that only made the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team more determined to get it right for the next fixture on 12 February in Mexico City. And boy, did we get it right! The strategy was perfect, the execution flawless. A superb team effort resulted in a spectacular one-two win that had the capacity crowd dancing in their seats at the stadium Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.

The team was fully pumped for the Rome double-header on 9-10 April, hoping for a repeat performance. Alas, this hope was dashed by unforeseen circumstances. The safety car on the track caused delays that disrupted the drivers’ minute energy calculations. Even though André was on the leader’s heels in the second race, he sadly didn’t have enough reserve power to follow through. Hemmed in, our drivers finished fourth and sixth respectively.

This only made them more resolved to make up lost points in Monaco. However, this was not to be. Although both drivers know the circuit well, both were knocked out of the contest within minutes of each other: Pascal suffered an electrical failure while André had a collision – luckily escaping with a minor hand injury.

Undaunted, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team was excited to approach their “home” circuit in Berlin in May. The double-header at Tempelhof was unusual – one race was in a clockwise direction: the other anti-clockwise. But the rough concrete track took its toll on the racing cars’ tyres and suspension, and unfortunately this cost us places. We did however score some valuable points in both races.

The next race, on 4 June, would be a different story. At Indonesia’s first-ever E-Prix, held in Jakarta, both drivers overcame extreme heat, humidity and intense competition to turn in solid performances. Despite a promising start, André incurred a 5-second penalty for contact with another competitor and ultimately only Pascal finished with points, in 6th place. This put the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team in 5th position in the team rankings at the midpoint of Season 8.

Our next challenge was Marrakesh. At the Circuit Moulay El Hassan the heat of the Moroccan desert took its toll. Overheating batteries presented a challenge to the team. Due to a sensor malfunction, André first lap was logged just 0,045 seconds too late – cancelling all other lap times. Once relegated to starting further back in the field, and with not enough power in hand, fighting to the front proved impossible.

All eyes were now on the New York double-header in July. The Saturday race was disastrous: a sudden downpour of rain saw both our 99X Electrics – and several others – skidding off the track. The multi-car collision would cause the race to be abandoned. Pascal only narrowly scored points. On Sunday, a flat-out street race saw both drivers driving well, after a jerky start, but only two points were scored, by André.

The London E-Prix on 30-31 July was the penultimate double-header of the season. Although it was a difficult track to overtake on, both Pascal and André took turns – on Saturday and Sunday respectively – to claw their way from rear starting positions to earn points at the finish. Unfortunately, the converse was also true: André slipped back to 12th in the first race and, in the second race, although Pascal made up some positions, he slipped back to 10th. Ultimately, the drivers finished in identical positions on both days!

All that remained was the season finale: an auspicious double-header in Seoul. The first E-Prix ever held in South Korea, this spectacle of note saw the circuit passing through the Olympic Stadium and the event culminating in a massive concert with some of the country’s top pop stars. Inspired by the brand new TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4 Porsche Edition smartwatch, our drivers – and even our 99X Electrics – were suitably attired for the occasion in bespoke frozen blue and black livery. However, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team’s high hopes were dashed, in spite of strong starts, by poor luck and contact taking us right out of the race: In race one, André was one of eight cars that caught a freak rain burst, sending them sliding straight into the wall. In race two, André was rear-ended in a melee on the very first corner. Pascal was almost 10 laps in before a collision with last season’s winner De Vries shattered his front right suspension and with it, any hope of finishing.

The season thus ended on a bit of an abrupt note. But of course, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team never dwell on what might have been. Sure, we would have preferred to finish higher than 7th on the log. But, the season more than delivered in terms of excitement and entertainment. And we are already looking forward to Season 9 with enormous anticipation. As we bid a fond farewell to André Lotterer, we also welcome new racer António Félix Da Costa. And next season we will also see the debut of a brand new racing car, the Generation 3. With new wheels and an extended family, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team has never been more ready to make an impact that matters.