Dennis feels updates have blunted his Formula E charge with Andretti

Reigning Formula E world champion Jake Dennis admits he’s struggling with his Andretti Porsche 99X Electric this season following changes made to the car.

While hardware is locked in for a two-year homologation period, teams can develop software whenever they choose, and Dennis suggests those changes have not quite been to his liking so far this season.

“To be honest, it’s been a bit of a struggle these last couple of months for me,” he said. “There’s been some changes inside of the car which really haven’t suited me and we’ve generally struggled this year so far.”

Dennis had a win and a brace of second places in the bank at the same point last year, and this year has one win (Diriyah race one) and his Tokyo third place as high points so far, but despite leaving Tokyo with a trophy, he still didn’t feel “at one with the car.”


“Some days we’re good, some days we’re bad, and this weekend was probably the first time where I felt not at one with the car but I delivered every lap,” he said. “Fifth (in qualifying) for me felt like pole, I really didn’t think I would qualify that high up. And then in the race we’re always quick so I knew I had a chance and the grid was pretty mixed up … but the way the race played out, I achieved the maximum today.”

While Dennis acknowledges the Porsche package’s strong efficiency, track position was vital in Tokyo for him to take advantage of that.

“These guys (winner Maximillian Guenther and second place Oliver Rowland) are incredibly quick when they need to be, I do think we have the upper hand in terms of efficiency but when they want to create a gap, they can just pull those six, seven tenths which allow them to take Attack or anything like this, and with it being so difficult to overtake round here, those moments at a track like this are absolutely crucial.

He also acknowledged the role his teammate Norman Nato played in keeping him in the fight, by keeping drivers who’d already gone through the longer Attack Mode power boost line before him from swamping him.

“(I’m) pretty pleased with third, at one point it looked like I was going to be finishing P7 — everyone behind me had already taken Attack and I had taken none, so a big thanks to my teammate Norman for saving me on that one and allowing me to fight for the podium today,” he said.

Last season, Formula E’s return to Europe coincided with a strong run for Dennis, who took two podium finishes in Berlin and Monaco, before adding to that haul for in the next lot of flyaways with a string of seconds in the Jakarta doubleheader and Portland. He then finished the year with three more podiums in Rome and London and he feels that this year could play out similarly.

“We’re just battling it out a little bit at the moment,” he conceded. “I’m confident when we get back to the European stages we can find a bit more of my rhythm that I had last year.”

But he knows he has a stiffer challenge this season, with the field being much closer overall.

“It just shows how now everyone is just so much closer,” he said. “Last year it was pretty much a two-horse race between Jaguar and Porsche … whereas now you’ve got the McLarens and Nissans, the Maseratis — these guys are performing at such a high level so a bad day now is like P11, P12 whereas a bad day last year was probably P6, P5. So it just shows even though the hardware’s not changed, the software’s obviously always evolving and these guys have made a really good step.

“It ultimately makes my life harder but I think it’s great for Formula E — five different winners (so far) in Season 10 is pretty impressive. It’s not GEN1 any more where you had massive variability. It’s this excitement that FE brings and think it’s going to keep evolving. The European season now should allow a bit more overtaking — Misano, Monaco, Berlin — whereas this was always going to be a of a struggle in terms of excitement.”

Story originally appeared on Racer