The Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team finished the fifth round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in Morocco out of the points. Nyck de Vries ended the Marrakesh E-Prix in P11 and Stoffel Vandoorne was in P15.
Nyck went through to contest the Super Pole for the Top Six drivers for the third time in his rookie season and qualified fourth for the E-Prix. After moving up into third place on the opening lap, an early drive-through penalty for overpowering while regenerating energy under braking dropped him to the end of the field. He then fought his way back up to finish the race in P11.
Stoffel’s race weekend at the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan did not go smoothly. He struggled to get to grips with the car and was P17 on the grid for the start of the race. He crossed the finish line in P15 after 34 laps.
Now on 56 points, the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team are in fifth place in the team standings after the fifth round of the season. The Rome E-Prix is next up on the race calendar on 4 April.
Comments after the race in Marrakesh
Ian James (Team Principal):
“Today was not our luckiest of days. Nyck got a drive through penalty for overstepping the regeneration limits. That was clearly not his fault and it cost him a well-deserved finish far higher up the ranks.
“It appeared to have been an issue with the motor control software, but we need to investigate further to understand exactly why this happened – as we did not change anything from the Free Practice sessions. The investigation and resolution will start now.
“It was the right thing to let him take the penalty immediately after we were informed. It had cost him 18 seconds. The gap of 20 seconds in the end ultimately showed his otherwise great pace today and that was the reason why we decided to let him pass Stoffel. He eventually made his way up to P11.
“As far as Stoffel is concerned, unfortunately it continued what we saw during all the sessions. He could not find his pace, even though he had a solid race. This is also something we have to look into in the following weeks.
“For us, there is a lot to take home from this set-back today. We have to get rid of our own mistakes to leave decisions where they belong: on the track. But we will definitely pull everything together and regroup for the next race.”
Nyck de Vries:
“I think there are a lot of positives to take from this weekend and from the race, starting with our strong performance in qualifying and good start to the race. We had a really strong package in the race, but unfortunately, we got a drive-through penalty for a technical infringement at the start. It’s something we will definitely have to look into and avoid for the future. After that, I made a very strong recovery and my pace was really good. I think that we could quite easily have finished on the podium in normal circumstances, so it’s a shame. Still, the positives outweigh the negatives.”
“I’ve been down on pace all weekend. We had a couple of issues in FP1, but the car felt much better today. However, my confidence was still not all there and I didn’t quite string things together properly in Group 1 of qualifying, unfortunately. All in all, it’s been a very tough weekend for me. I really struggled in every session and was never really on the pace at all, not even a little, which is very strange, because this is the first time that’s ever happened to me. I need to understand why. I don’t really know the reason. We tried everything possible with the car but never really managed to get more out of it. The good thing is that Nyck’s pace was more normal and solid this weekend. Fortunately, we’ve got quite a long break ahead of us now and can analyse everything in detail.”