Maximilian Günther in the #28 BMW iFE.20 scored his first-ever Formula E win in the third race of the series’ Season 6 in Santiago, Chile on January 18, while his BMW i Andretti teammate Alexander Sims, who had won the second race of the season in the Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, double-header in December, crashed out early in the race.
Günther started second on the grid and settled in to run in the top three. He overtook Jaguar’s Mitch Evans for the lead about halfway through the race, and managed to build a two-second edge. But António Félix da Costa, who has moved from BMW i Andretti to Techeetah this season, moved up to challenge Günther late in the race and got by for the lead with three laps remaining. Günther, who was managing his battery temperature more effectively than Félix da Costa, stayed close and made a dramatic pass for the lead as the Techeetah driver had to slow late on the last lap. He went on to cross the finish line first, with Félix da Costa second and Evans third. With the victory, Günther, 22, became the youngest winner ever in Formula E.
As the series’ points leader going into the Santiago event, Sims had to qualify in the first group when the track was slippery. He started fifteenth, and battled with other cars in mid-pack to move up to eleventh. But he grazed the wall in the midst of his early-race battles, doing damage that led to a retirement.
BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt said, “That was an extraordinary performance, both from Maximilian Günther and everyone in the BMW i Andretti Motorsport team. It is incredible how maturely and coolly Maximilian drove in only his third Formula E race for our team. He more than deserved the first Formula E win of his career and the title of “youngest Formula E winner ever.” He and the team kept a cool head, particularly in the dramatic closing stages, and judged the situation correctly. We reckoned that António could have cooling problems, and that is exactly what happened. That correct appraisal allowed Max to pull off the fantastic overtaking maneuver on the final lap. On the whole, we can obviously be extremely happy with two wins and two pole positions in three races, as well as first place in the team competition. Alexander Sims had a tough day today, but he is still right up there. We now have two winning drivers in the Drivers’ Championship, and we will go on the attack with both of them again at the Mexico City E-Prix.”
With two wins in the first three races of the season, BMW leads team points going into the series’ next race in Mexico City on February 15.—Brian Morgan
[Photos courtesy of BMW Motorsport.]