Porsche likely to keep Lotterer in FE despite Le Mans link - The Race
Formula E

Porsche likely to keep Lotterer in FE despite Le Mans link

Jul 13 2021
By Sam Smith

Porsche is edging towards continuity in its driving squad for the final season of Gen2 Formula E competition in 2021/22 with Andre Lotterer and Pascal Wehrlein set to continue together.

While Wehrlein has a long-term contract with the team, Lotterer has been the subject of rumours about a possible move more towards a sportscar based programme with Porsche’s impending all-new LMDh project.

This will begin development testing next year for a 2023 debut and Lotterer is likely to be one of the drivers that Porsche will call upon for its private test programme along with Neel Jani and Frederic Makowiecki, who has substantial experience as a vehicle dynamic testing specialist after years of work with Michelin.

Lotterer has endured a difficult second season with the Porsche team, with a second-place at Valencia the highlight so far.

He has suffered several issues in races ranging from incidents with other drivers to multiple penalties for a range of technical infractions.

But his pace has never been far from the surface with drives through the field in Monaco and Puebla going unrewarded due to a post-race penalty and getting caught up in the signage/banner related issues respectively.

Now, Porsche’s director of factory motorsport Pascal Zurlinden has told The Race that he and his team are not actively looking to make any switches in its line-up because Lotterer and Wehrlein are considered “pillars of the team”.

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The Race understands that Lotterer has another 12 months left on his contract with Porsche.

“For now, we are concentrating on the actual season,” Zurlinden said.

“But to be honest, if I look at our two drivers, they are two pillars of the team, and I don’t see any reason to change drivers for next year.

“Continuity is really important for Porsche and this is our road at the moment.”

Touching on Lotterer’s fractured season, which has left him rooted to 18th position in the points standings, Zurlinden said that he was “really happy with Andre, who has had lots of bad luck this year.”

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Zurlinden cited the first race in Rome, in which Lotterer suffered a technical failure after making an aggressive early move to wrest the lead from Stoffel Vandoorne’s Mercedes. This resulted in a time-consuming collision but then a software problem effectively ended his race.

“He was P1 in Rome, and he got the integral mistake, which is a software glitch, let’s call it like this, and he got a Valencia podium, so the performance is there,” said Zurlinden.

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While Porsche has a large pool of contracted drivers in its factory ranks it has few that have experience of Formula E cars.

Thomas Preining, Simona de Silvestro and Makowiecki are the only drivers to have experience of driving the complex Gen2 cars.

The Race understands that Preining and Makowiecki were in line to again test for the team at the Valencia rookie test, which was cancelled after a second race was added to the late-April weekend instead.

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