Max Günther and Jake Dennis in the BMW i Andretti Motorsport iFE.21s scored no points in the ABB Formula E series Season 7 opener in Diriyah, Saud Arabia on February 26–27. Dennis, running his first race for the team, finished twelfth in the Friday night race, while Günther crashed out with about ten minutes remaining. In the Saturday night race both drivers crashed; Dennis was forced into the wall by another car, and Günther was involved in a multi-car incident that brought out a race-ending red flag, thrown just three minutes before the scheduled finish.
The two Diriyah races, both scheduled for 45 minutes plus one lap, were the first-ever night races run in ABB Formula E. The win on Friday night went to Mercedes’ Nyck de Vries, and the Saturday night victory went to Jaguar’s Sam Bird.
BMW i Andretti team principal Roger Griffiths said, “Two days in a row we didn’t get the results we wanted. Yesterday was frustrating. Today, even more so, as both drivers had the chance to score points and ended up with DNFs. The day started with a challenge as we had to fit the battery back into Maximilian’s car after yesterday’s crash but all the mechanics did a great job. Despite a very late delivery of the battery, we only lost a few minutes of time in free practice. In qualifying we didn’t make the most of our opportunities. We felt the race would come to us in the final stages looking at energy management but in the end it wasn’t meant to be. We now try to put the Diriyah races behind us and move on to Europe.”
Dennis added, “A bad day in the office for all of us with two DNFs. My race was going pretty well before my crash. I was saving a lot of energy and it looked good for the final laps of the race. Then Alexander Sims hit me first, I touched the wall and had a bit of suspension damage but the car was still driveable. Then Pascal Wehrlein came and pushed me straight into the wall. There was nothing I could do. All in all we could have had a better weekend. I had problems in qualifying; the race pace was good. Now we have to move on to the next one.”
The team will have to be patient as it prepares to recover from the season opener; the series’ next race is scheduled for April 10 in Rome.—Brian Morgan
[Photos courtesy BMW Motorsport]