Some welcome familiarity for Formula E with Portland return

Formula E’s pair of races in Portland International Raceway this weekend marks the first time since the Monaco round on April 27 that the series has run on a familiar circuit.

Berlin featured a new track layout, while the most recent event in Shanghai was a new venue altogether. But in returning to the U.S., Formula E will be back on familiar ground, and Maserati MSG Racing’s Maximilian Guenther says that will mean a different approach will be needed going into this weekend.

“It’s definitely a slightly different approach,” said the German, who finished sixth in the first Portland race (pictured above) last season. “Everybody has got more references and experience from the previous year — I actually watched the gaps already last in qualifying over the whole weekend, and it was extremely competitive. So, what you can expect this year is just another step up.”


This is the second season of the GEN3 regulations, and the resulting natural convergence has made the field the closest it’s been. Guenther says that means capitalizing on the knowledge of the previous Portland visit will be crucial.

“We’ve seen such tight margins this year, especially in qualifying, that we very much know that we need to really work and go deep into all these fine details that make the difference at the end of the day,” he said. “Every little hundredth that you can gain here or there can give you a few positions on the grid. So that’s the mindset we have going into the weekend.”

Formula E will be expanding its number of doubleheaders to six next season — an announcement that drew some criticism from fans who would prefer to see the series visit more locations. Guenther and his Maserati teammate Jehan Daruvala see merit to both sides of the debate.

“I think both have pros and cons,” Guenther said. “For sure, I like to go to different places to only have one chance and deliver the job on each track. On the human side, I guess as well, it has got both pros and cons, because you could say the doubleheaders, they’re extremely intense, especially on a second race day — we all don’t have a lot of sleep, we are very, very tired on the second day. So, it really pushes you to the limit, every individual of the team.

“But, on the other hand, if you go to 17 different destinations, this means a lot as well on the traveling side. So, I think it’s about finding a good balance. The locations we have, they’re absolutely amazing. The calendar for next year is looking great.”

“We’re not doing doubleheaders every weekend,” Daruvala noted. “There’s some weekends which are doubleheaders and some not, and I feel like a balance is quite good. So yeah, I would like to see what that brings us.”

Story originally appeared on Racer