Formula E’s Mexico City E-Prix Memorable Moments

As Formula E returns to Mexico – albeit on a different circuit to its usual home at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez – we take a look back at some of Formula E’s most memorable moments in Mexico City!

Header image: Eder Lozada, CC BY 4.0

2016 – Di Grassi’s ‘race-winning’ overtake

Deploying his Fan Boost on the main straight in the inaugural Mexico City E-Prix, Lucas di Grassi made a bold overtake on race leader Jérôme d’Ambrosio into Turn 1. Despite locking up, di Grassi made the move stick. However, his impressive overtake would ultimately be in vain. His Audi car was disqualified from the race for being underweight.

2016 – Buemi vs d’Ambrosio

Behind di Grassi, tensions ran high at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez between d’Ambrosio and Sébastien Buemi. The drama began on Lap 25, with Buemi unhappy with d’Ambrosio’s defensive tactics into Turn 1.

Four laps later, Buemi made another attempt, this time resulting in contact between the pair. Though there was no damage, Buemi was back for yet another try, this time around the outside, on Lap 35. The Swiss driver took the position, despite passing d’Ambrosio off the circuit. A frustrated d’Ambrosio was then challenged for position by Buemi’s Renault e.Dams team-mate Nico Prost.

Buemi eventually allowed D’Ambrosio back past in a move which, following di Grassi’s disqualification, would secure victory for the Belgian driver.

2017 – di Grassi wins for real

Redemption from his 2016 disqualification arrived for Lucas di Grassi in 2017. The Brazilian started only fifteenth for the race following a mistake in qualifying. On the opening lap of the race, di Grassi was hit from behind by Venturi’s Stéphane Sarrazin. The contact necessitated a rear wing change – though a Safety Car as a result of debris meant that di Grassi was able to remain on the lead lap; albeit at the back of the field.

With the Safety Car deployed once again, di Grassi opted to switch to his second car on Lap 18, meaning he would need to conserve energy to reach the end of the 45-lap race. With the field bunched up behind the Safety Car, it left the Audi driver in a much more promising position.

As other drivers pitted to switch their cars, di Grassi assumed the lead of the race, half a lap ahead of those who had pitted. A third Safety Car period saw his lead diminished. Nevertheless, despite coming under pressure from Jean-Éric Vergne, di Grassi held on to take his first victory of a title-winning season.

2019 – Piquet crashes out

Mexico was not the happiest hunting ground for Nelson Piquet Jnr. The series’ inaugural champion suffered a rather big crash at Turn 1 during qualifying for the first Mexico City E-Prix and went on to finish the race in only thirteenth place. While he scored points with ninth place in 2017 and fourth in 2018, his 2019 race ended in another big crash.

Driving for Jaguar, Piquet got airborne at the final chicane following contact with the rear of Jean-Éric Vergne’s Techeetah. His car came to a rest after clattering into the wall. The race was red-flagged as a result of the Brazilian’s impact. Piquet made only two more Formula E appearances before calling time on his career.

2019 – A dramatic finish

Following Piquet’s crash, the remainder of the 2019 Mexico City E-Prix was just as eventful. Pascal Wehrlein had started from pole position for the first time in his Formula E career on only his third appearance in the series.

Wehrlein led throughout the race, but came under increasing pressure from Lucas di Grassi as the E-Prix neared its conclusion. Wehrlein’s Mahindra car was running low on energy and, on the final lap, the German cut the chicane at Turn 3 defending from di Grassi; a move for which he would later be penalised.

With Wehrlein slowing, the field closed in the final sector, with the top six covered by less than two seconds. Unbelievably, Wehrlein’s energy levels hit zero just metres before the finish line, allowing di Grassi to swoop by and take his second Mexico City E-Prix victory. The top four were covered by just eight tenths of a second on the line.

A double header of Formula E races at the 2021 Puebla E-Prix take place at Autodromo Miguel E. Abed on June 19 and 20.