RIYADH: It took Edoardo Mortara 54 races to get his first Formula E pole position.
And then he got two in two days, helping him secure a win and second place for ROKiT Venturi Racing in the Berlin E-Prix double-header last month.
Ahead of the first ever Jakarta E-Prix on Saturday, Mortara sits in second position in Season 8 of the all-electric series, on 99 points, behind leader Stoffel Vandoorne of Mercedes-EQ on 111.
Mortara described his weekend in Berlin as “fantastic.”
He said: “It’s not often that you have these kinds of weekends as a driver and obviously I’m very pleased and very happy with what happened.
“I can only tell you that I think that we managed to squeeze pretty much all the performance out of the car.
“We had a strategy in the qualifiers, and we executed the plan very well. And I think my laps were also quite good, without big mistakes. I was very happy, very pleased with the results,” the Swiss driver added.
Going into the Berlin E-Prix, Mortara, 35, was fifth in the overall standings and 32 points behind Vandoorne. The cars of both teams — with ROKiT Venturi Racing also having a Mercedes engine — ended up completing a successful weekend.
He said: “Sunday was I think a strong showing from both Mercedes teams, so obviously we can say that the powertrain worked very well in Berlin. But we should not underestimate the amount of work that has also been done by the two teams on the setups, on the drivability, on all these things.
“I think that for sure, the powertrain was a big key to our success. But it was also all the work that was done by the team. So, I would say 50-50.”
Following the success in Germany, did Mortara believe he was finally getting as much consistency out of the car as possible?
“Not really, actually. We had very strong weekends in Riyadh and in Berlin. And we seemed to struggle a bit more in Rome and Monaco. I believe there were reasons why we struggled in Rome, especially because we didn’t have the right tire strategies in the qualifiers. And so, in two out of the three qualifiers we couldn’t really qualify well, because of that.
“So, it’s up to us now to try to make less mistakes. Personally, I also need to do a better job in qualifying sometimes, extracting all the performance out of the car, and then I guess we can find more consistency,” he added.
This season saw Lucas di Grassi — one of Formula E’s biggest names — join ROKiT Venturi, and while Mortara acknowledged the wealth of experience and expertise that the Brazilian driver had brought, he maintained that the team’s overall improvement was down to other factors too.
“Obviously, he brought quite a good amount of knowledge and experience from his previous years in Formula E. But as you could see last year, in Berlin, we were also very, very strong. I mean, there was no Lucas last year.
“So, both are true. He brought us some knowledge, some experience. But the team had already showed that they were extremely competitive in Berlin, and that they could win races very well.”
While Mortara noted that Season 8 had been full of ups and downs for him and the team, he pointed out that overall, he had done a good job extracting the maximum out of the car with the help of his team.
He said: “It’s difficult in Formula E to be consistent. And if you check only the results, for sure, you can define it as a non-consistent season. But I have the impression that I did a pretty good job so far, in terms of extracting the best of what I had.
“And results are also coming from the entire package, team, car, and driver. And so sometimes, when you’re not performing, it’s not only the fault of the driver. We have to be more consistent, like I said before, and minimize mistakes and then I’m sure that we will be there more often.”
Mortara added that his success in Berlin was not only down to the circuit but also due to ROKiT Venturi proving to be versatile on different tracks.
“I think so far, I’ve shown in Formula E that I can win on normal circuits, or that I can be quick at least on normal circuits, and on street circuits. So no, I don’t think that I can only be competitive in Berlin.
“We were strong in Riyadh and if you check, we were starting from the back in Rome and Monaco, we were extremely strong. In Monaco, I was starting 16th, I think, and was already in the top six on a track where normally it’s very difficult to overtake.
“Same for Rome. In the first race, we were starting from P13, and we came back to sixth, after the penalty, seventh. So far, we’ve been competitive in all the races, actually,” Mortara said.
He was now looking forward to racing at the Jakarta International E-Prix Circuit for the first time and was pleased that the Formula E calendar was expanding to places such as India from next year.
“I’m extremely happy that we’re going to Jakarta. It’s fantastic to go and visit and find out more about these countries that are actually quite far from where we’re living.
“I’ve never been to India, and Formula E is really giving me the chance to know more about other countries, more about other cultures, and I’m very keen on that,” he added.