Saturday, July 13, 2024

“Results like this one are special”: Maserati’s James Rossiter reflects on ‘rollercoaster’ weekend

Last weekend’s Berlin E-Prix double-header was an emotional one for Maserati MSG Racing, after the Monte-Carlo-based team enjoyed their best weekend of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship by a country-mile.

This season has been unbelievably tough for Maserati, with the side having often shown strong pace, only to be outdone by nothing more than unimaginable bad luck. Whilst some of that bad luck was still around on Sunday at the Tempelhof Airport Circuit, Saturday was very much Maserati’s day and one that Team Principal James Rossiter hailed as “special”.

After Edoardo Mortara qualified eleventh and Maximilian Günther qualified eighth for the first race of the weekend, it looked set to be a positive Saturday for Maserati. Those beliefs were enhanced after Mortara worked his way from eleventh to first by the eleventh lap, before he fell to ninth by the end of the race. Günther on the other hand, drove a really smart race and timed his moves perfectly, including on Sébastian Buemi at the final corner of the race, to claim the team’s first podium of the season.

It was an emotional moment for the team and particuarly for Rossiter, given that it’s his first season as Team Principal. He labelled the race as a “rollercoaster” and explained how “immensely proud” he was of the whole team, who have worked tremendously hard this season.

“That was something else,” Rossiter said after the race on Saturday. “I’ve never been on a rollercoaster like that before, not even as a driver! What an incredible way to start our weekend in Berlin by scoring our first double points finish and our first podium of the season. Results like this one are special, and I’m immensely proud of everyone in the team. It comes from the hard work and dedication we put in every single day. Berlin has historically been a strong circuit for us, and after seeing some encouraging signs in practice, we were quietly optimistic.

“The race was incredibly intense, and ultimately, it’s about being in the right position at the end. Both drivers drove excellently, and coming away with our first podium of the season is very satisfying. We can’t rest, however, and in motorsport, you’re only as good as your last race. We now need to focus on tomorrow, improve and repeat today’s achievements or, better still, exceed them.”

Above: Maximilian Günther – Credit: Simon Galloway courtesy of FIA Formula E

After putting their podium celebrations on hold, Sunday started much more challengingly for Maserati, after Mortara and Günther struggled in the first wet qualifying of the season. Mortara could only manage sixteenth whilst Günther was on the last row in twenty-first, meaning a mega performance was needed by both drivers.

With the track having tried for the second race of the weekend, both drivers made excellent progress early on, before Mortara was forced to pit after being involved in an “unavoidable accident”. The Swiss driver unfortunately retired from the race, marking his fourth retirement of the year. The home hero, though, was on hand to deliver another unbelievable result, after making up fifteen places in the race.

Günther crossed the line in an exceptional sixth place, helping Maserati rise from tenth to seventh in the Constructors’ Championship. Despite Mortara’s unfortunate luck on Sunday, Maserati can take huge amounts of confidence away from the German capital, which they’ll be hoping to take into their home E-Prix next weekend.

“We executed a strong team strategy today to deliver a good result after a difficult qualifying,” Rossiter said after Sunday’s race. “Max went from 21st to sixth, with the fastest lap, which is an incredible achievement. Edo was also delivering a very impressive drive and was making good progress, before unfortunately picking up damage from an unavoidable accident.

“Without a Safety Car to bunch the field, this essentially ended his race. It’s a shame, because there was room for more points today, but we should be proud of  our performance overall this weekend, especially after yesterday’s podium”