Gary Paffett and HWA RACELAB continued their upward trend in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship as they completed the full race distance with both cars for the first time this season, with Gary qualifying and finishing in 16th place in a dramatic CBMM Niobium Mexico City E-Prix.
Race day at the 2.1-kilometre Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez started with Gary getting to grips with the demanding 17-corner circuit in the two free practice sessions and the challenge ahead was evident as he finished both sessions in 20th place.
In his first qualifying in Mexico City, Gary’s 1:00.340-minute lap time was enough to secure him a 16th place starting position for the Mexico City E-Prix, with his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne in 19th place.
Gary then struggled at that start of the race as the twenty-two cars negotiated the tight, windy circuit, but he managed to make it through the turmoil of the early stages unscathed. The race was then red flagged and suspended for over 20 minutes on lap five, following a heavy crash involving Nelson Piquet.
The two-time DTM champion then slowly progressed through the race, moving from 21st to 16th in the final ten laps of the race as others struggled with energy saving and avoiding contact.
Crossing the finishing line in 16th place, Gary finished as the highest-placed HWA RACELAB driver but ultimately rounded off a fairly disappointing trip to Central America.
“There were good and bad aspects to the race. The result is obviously not what we had hoped for. It is not easy when you are starting from P16. However, we kept out of all the trouble and managed to finish the race. We gathered more data and will continue our race to catch up. We have learned more and made progress. Unfortunately, we came away from Mexico without any points, but there were definitely a few positives."
Ulrich Fritz, Team Principal HWA RACELAB, sees this past weekend as ‘pretty disappointing’ but sees promising signs from the team.
"The weekend did not run as we had wished. The result, with both cars at the back of the field, is pretty disappointing, to be honest. It all began with difficult sessions in free practice, which in turn compromised the rest of an action-packed race day. The race was pretty chaotic and there was not much in there for us. On the positive, we gained some more mileage, as both cars finished the race. Both drivers did a solid job and, generally speaking, had a good race pace. We can definitely build on this in the future."
The next round of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship heads to Asia with the Hong Kong E-Prix on 10th March 2019.