McLaren impress on Formula E debut: Key talking points from round one in Mexico City

The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship returned for Season 9 this weekend with the 2023 Hankook Mexico City E-Prix.

The world’s premier all-electric racing series delivered another classic at the iconic Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit, and it was the Brits who shone in the Mexican sunshine.

Here are all your talking points from the curtain-raiser:

Dennis the menace takes new trophy home

Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis reminded the watching fans why he remains one of the hot tips for the title by absolutely dominating to victory in Mexico City – his fourth-ever E-Prix win.

Dennis is looking to become the first Brit to win the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, and the 27-year-old continued where he left off last season, securing three podiums in the final four races of Season 8, to delight the 40,000-capacity crowd.

The Nuneaton driver began in P2 but a smart overtake in the early stages allowed him to usurp Formula E veteran Lucas di Grassi (Mahindra Racing) on his 101st race in the World Championship – winning by a huge seven seconds.


TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein finished runner-up in what was another strong display for the manufacturer on the track – with Andretti using the Porsche powertrain for Season 9.

But it was Dennis who shone brightest and lifted the new Formula E trophy in what he will hope is a new dawn for the Brits in Formula E as they look to break the country’s duck…

Hughes shows his worth to newbies McLaren

Formula E welcomed one of motorsport’s most iconic brands in Mexico City as McLaren made its bow in the Net Zero Carbon Championship.

The British team is looking to build on its dynasty in motorsport by conquering the electric field, already featuring a team in off-road racing series Extreme E before joining the Formula E grid for Season 9.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

And it was almost a dream start with the introduction of rookie Jake Hughes making his bow in the series. The ex-Formula 2 driver began in P3 after a fantastic qualifying but failed to hold off the challenge of the vastly more experienced duo of Wehrlein and Andre Lotterer (Avalanche Andretti) to finish fifth.

But the team will be encouraged by the performance in Mexico City, which was conducted in front of the watchful eye of CEO Zak Brown in the team garage.

Team Principal Ian James said ahead of the season that he expected an adjustment period for the team but based on this performance few would bet against McLaren becoming a real force in the electric racing world.

Big boys underwhelm

There was high degree of expectation heading into Season 9 on the shoulders of DS Penske and Jaguar TCS Racing due to a fearsome driver line-up that included 30 race wins between them and two champions in the case of the former.

But it was a damp squib for the pre-season favourites with just five points amongst them in Mexico City. Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) finished eighth, failing to repeat his success at the track from Season 6, while reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne finished tenth for his new team DS.

 (Jaguar Racing via Getty Images)
(Jaguar Racing via Getty Images)

Things were even rougher for former champion Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Penske), who lost one place from the starting grid to finish 12th, while Sam Bird’s (Jaguar TCS Racing) miserable form continued as he landed a DNF after pitting in the early stages of the race.

It means the pressure is now on both teams heading into Round 2 in Saudi Arabia as they look to get their season and title fight up and running.

Passionate fans treated to glimpse into electric future with the GEN3

Mexico City has long been one of the most eagerly anticipated races on the Formula E calendar and did not disappoint as it opened the season for the first time.


The drivers were treated to a magnificent atmosphere inside the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit as a sell-out 40,000 fans cheered from the sidelines to usher in a new dawn for electric mobility.

A feast of wheel-to-wheel, edge-of-the-seat racing put to bed any doubts about the ability of sustainability and high-performance to merge with the introduction of the new GEN3 car.

The race was a timely reminder of Formula E’s role in challenging convention and leading the world into a more sustainable future.

::The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship returns on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 January for the 2023 Diriyah E-Prix, with coverage live on Eurosport and Channel 4 YouTube