Was Formula E’s first Gen3 race good enough? Our verdict


The preparation for the start of Formula E’s first Gen3 season was tense to say the leastwith delays in the delivery of parts, as well as reliability and safety concerns, putting the teams under enormous pressure and leading to great concern over how the Mexico City E-Prix could turn out.

So was this the debut that the new era needed, or was it disappointing?

Here are our writers’ thoughts:

FAST CHARGING CAN’T COME EARLY ENOUGH

SamSmith

Lucas Di Grassi, Mahindra Racing, Mahindra M9electro

The reliability drama is relieved all round, and occasionally, as we’ve seen, system shutdown-induced accidents mostly haven’t happened in Mexico City, at least in racing.

But make no mistake. The safety situation will be further highlighted in two weeks time at the faster and more congested track in Diriyah. There the FIA ​​hopes to introduce the secondary braking system and as demonstrated by Mitch Evans and several others before himit is urgently needed.

The race was decent, but I can’t help but think that the new Assault Mode designations didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. There were fewer overtakes and far fewer opportunities to fight for positions than last season.

Rear-wheel drive top gear might now be a thing of the past as the extra boost has a lot less power.

At some tracks this season that will lead to a certain stalemate. That’s until the vaunted fast-loading rolls in, but it remains to be seen when exactly it’ll be introduced and whether it’ll present another thread of danger that could alter what we’re hoping will become a clear titular narrative.

Formula E passed its first Gen3 test – narrowly

Jack Cozens

Formula E Mexico City E-Prix 2023

Formula E just finds a way, right? That’s a bit superficial – Saturday’s Mexico E-Prix success wasn’t just a coin toss.

But there were real concerns ahead of the first Gen3 race day, and the fact none of them materialized means it should be considered a success – albeit a qualified one with caveats.

The calculations for the race – much discussed before – turned out to be on the money. Ok, some had a little too much energy in the last few laps, but as Lucas di Grassi tries desperately to distribute what little reserves he had left – an entertaining climax was delivered.

Even this rather tame affair compared to most Formula E encounters had enough power in the final phase. Overtaking maneuvers were not in abundance. The chicane reduced the chances of another. But overtaking maneuvers were possible. And they were also possible in the chicane.

It wasn’t a triumphant race day, but nothing went wrong either. Judging that against what Formula E had to prioritize this weekend, it feels like the imperfections can be tolerated.

THE FIELD IS INCREDIBLY CLOSE

Valentin Khorounzhiy

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Formula E’s qualifying format – which sounded like potential chaos when it was first presented – remains a tremendous strength and has been well served by an impressively even pace distribution for being so early in Gen3.

I mean, imagine Formula 1 entered a new rule era with qualifying with about half the cars – or more – within three tenths of a second. We would lose our collective marbles!

The race itself clearly didn’t do it justice, and there’s still a bit too much “wait, what happened?” created by the broadcast image – but here’s a real foundation for a really good season.

GEN3 ALREADY FEEL LIKE BALANCED

Matt beer

Space suit Media Jake Osborne 340040

Like many others, my reaction to the Gen3 car when it was first revealed in late April last year was something along the lines of “what the hell is that thing?”.

But even now, after the cars have been given their true character in the teams’ liveries and then shown their prowess on the track in Mexico, Gen3 almost feels like it’s been Formula E forever.

I still think the Gen3 is moving too far towards a junior single seater tone in terms of shape and dimensions, while the unafraid to be different, Gen2 feel more appropriate for a series attempting a World Championship to become entirely on their own terms with no comparisons or ties to traditional singles championships.

But they are fast, dramatic to look at and quite raceable. Their more fragile nature means riders seem more inclined to overtake cleanly rather than ride over each other like they might with the Gen2s.

Jake Dennis’ dominance in the opening game in Mexico didn’t detract from the open and close race in the backfield. This weekend will certainly look a bit unusual as teams and drivers fully adapt to the new cars and especially the new tyres. Then we can properly assess whether Gen3 has preserved the highly competitive and unpredictable nature of FE.

ACTION WAS TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE FOR NEW FANS

Josh Suttil

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I think we need to remember that the abundance of pre-season fears over reliability has lowered the expectations of everyone who follows Formula E closely.

Just because those expectations were exceeded by a solid race with good reliability doesn’t mean that this was a compelling race for those watching Formula E for the first time, only to jump back in next time.

A rather uneventful start to the race and back-to-back safety cars with lengthy recovery times was not an ideal start to the new era.

The slow-paced nature of Formula E racing means the action is very tail-heavy – but I’m concerned if enough new fans stuck around to the end?

And even with the exciting end to the race (which Lucas di Grassi made possible with his superior defensive skills), this was nothing more than a mediocre start to the season.





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