Evans battles battery overheating en route to Sao Paulo podium

Mitch Evans finally broke his 2023-24 season podium drought in the Sao Paulo E-Prix, but admitted the occasion was “bittersweet” as he narrowly missed out on victory.

The Jaguar TCS Racing driver was leading from the final safety car restart on lap 20 but succumbed to pressure from Sam Bird in the final sequence of corners on the last lap of the race. But while he described Bird’s daring pass around the outside of Turn 10 as “a great move,” he revealed that a loss of power in the extremely hot temperatures were key to his downfall.

“It’s bittersweet given that a few laps ago I thought it was going to be [a win] for us again,” he conceded. “But I started getting some temperature warnings quite quickly and then it kind of escalated on the last lap. I had a huge de-rate on the last lap with power.


“I had run out of power, so even if Sam didn’t overtake me there, he probably would’ve got me at the start/finish line. So yeah, [it’s] a bit frustrating with that because I had loads of energy left but I was just trying to bring it home…just a little bit shy, two corners shy. But to lose it out to Sam, he’s been through a really tough period and it’s really cool to see him back on the top step as well.”

Evans says he feels there’s not much more he could do to salvage the situation, pointing out that he’d never been put through something like it before.

“From our side, I’m happy for the points. We did all the right steps at the right time with these crazy races to produce another race win, but it wasn’t meant to be today,” he said. “I’ve not experienced de-rate like that before in this category, with the battery, so that was quite a new experience but we knew it was going to be on the limit.

“The rate it came in was quite aggressive, to be honest. Even when I was in the lead I was under-consuming a lot. I was doing all the right things to try and manage the temp, energy and track position, so I’m a bit surprised to get the warnings, especially having that clean air. If I was in the tow or P2/P3 it would have made more sense.

“I didn’t think I over-managed. Whether I could’ve done something different, we’ll have to wait and see, but the rate it came in was so aggressive, I felt like I was in a GEN1 car on the last lap.”

Nissan driver Oliver Rowland, who finished behind Evans in third, driving with the same powertrain as Bird’s winning McLaren, pointed out that the Japanese brand had to contend with battery overheating issues, but predicting them and managing them was key to the brand’s best race result of the year.

“What’s quite tricky here is that when you have a battery temp issue, you can’t save too much in the beginning of the race because then if you have too much energy at the end, that completely screws the battery because you can’t use it,” Rowland said. “It’s a really tricky balance for us to have the right targets but not have saved too much, because you can have all the energy at the end but you can’t actually use it if your battery’s overheated.

“I think it was the first time in GEN3 that we’ve had this. It’s quite even for everyone, so to be honest, my team pretty much expected what happened in terms of overheating — and made a pretty good job of it because I started to struggle with seven or eight laps to go. I had warnings on the dash but they managed it perfectly.”

Story originally appeared on Racer