Despite struggling towards the end of the 2022/23 Formula E season, Pascal Wehrlein is full of “hope” that Porsche can continue to make more progress next season.

It’s been a very mixed start to the Gen3 era of the all-electric series for Porsche and for Wehrlein, who were the dominant combo in the opening rounds of the year.

Wehrlein finished second in the season-opener in Mexico City, before going on to win both races in Diriyah. His victory in the second race of the Diriyah double-header back in January was enough to see him move to the top of the Drivers’ Championship, a position he held until the Monaco E-Prix in May.

The German was a consistent points finisher all season; however, too many of his top 10 finishes came in the form of P6 or P7. This made him vulnerable to the likes of Jake Dennis, Nick Cassidy and Mitch Evans, who were all achieving rostrums on almost a race-by-race basis.

Ever since Formula E’s first visit to Cape Town, Wehrlein looked unconvincing as a championship leader, after an unnecessary opening lap collision with Sébastian Buemi. Once the opening few rounds had passed, podiums were also a rarity for the 28-year-old.

To put it into context, Dennis claimed 11 top three finishes on his way to title glory, whereas Wehrlein finished on the podium just four times.

Three of his four podiums were victories, with his surprise win in Jakarta having momentarily promoted him back to the top of the Drivers’ Championship in June. Race pace and efficiency weren’t really an issue for Wehrlein or for Porsche, with one lap performance having been the duo’s downfall.

At the start of the year when the powertrain suppliers were all still learning about the Gen3 machinery, it was possible to miss the duels and still win. However, once the likes of Jaguar, Nissan and Stellantis started to understand their powertrains, winning from towards the back became more difficult.

This was Porsche’s and Wehrlein’s downfall, with all four of his podiums having come after qualifying in the top 10. Too often, Wehrlein qualified towards the back, leaving him with a mountain to climb during the races.

Out of the 16 races, Wehrlein progressed to the duels just seven times, leaving him with too much ground to make up. Had he qualified better in season nine, then he would’ve been right in the title fight, likely until the final race.

Whilst the season did end disappointingly for Wehrlein and for Porsche in London – where he finished ninth and 10th – there are plenty of positives to take away from the start of Gen3. The German manufacturer had previously been a sleeping giant in Formula E; however, they are now very much awake.

They do have a very strong powertrain which can challenge Jaguar, as proven by Dennis, who claimed the Drivers’ Championship. Efficiency is also not an issue for the Stuttgart-based team, whose only issue really is qualifying.

If Porsche can discover how to extract one lap performance from their car ahead of 2024, then Wehrlein and António Félix da Costa will play a significant part in the season 10 title fight.

The progress made this season does fill Wehrlein with “hope” when looking to the future, but he can’t help but feel disappointed by how the title has slipped away from him.

“We were strong in many of our races this season and topped the leaderboard for a long time,” Wehrlein said when reflecting on the season.

“Then in the last races, we didn’t manage to match the good results from the beginning of the season and subsequently lost a lot of points. That’s disappointing, obviously. Still, we’ve grown significantly stronger overall compared to the last few years and that gives us hope. A huge thank you to the whole team for their hard work.”

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