Maximilian Günther is expecting season 10 to be a “big fight”, with the German under the impression that “everybody is getting closer” following the recent pre-season test.
The timesheets at pre-season testing at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia three weeks ago were remarkably tight, with just nine-tenths of a second having separated Mitch Evans at the top, to Dan Ticktum at the bottom.
It’s a sign that the lower teams from season nine have perhaps made a good amount of progress ahead of Formula E’s 10th season, to the extent that the Jaguars and the Porsches might not be as dominant as they were this year.
From the Berlin double-header onwards in season nine, Günther was really the only driver not powered by a Jaguar or Porsche powertrain who was able to consistently compete with the leading sides. In the space of six races, the Maserati MSG Racing driver claimed a win, two pole positions and a further three podiums, enough to secure seventh in the Drivers’ Championship.
Remarkably, Günther ended season nine on the same number of rostrums as Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein, who topped the standings for three months.
Looking purely at testing, whilst three of the four Jaguar-powered cars were in the top-four, the likes of Maserati, Mahindra Racing and the Nissan Formula E Team all had a driver in the top-10. Günther’s 1m 24.658s lap was good enough for fifth on the timesheets, but he was just under two-tenths slower than Evans.
To highlight just how close the field was in Valencia, Günther would’ve ended the test as the second-fastest driver if he’d gone just 0.042s faster.
All the signs do suggest that season 10 is going to be a highly competitive one, with the grid looking too close for Günther to pick out “one rival”.
“I think basically everybody is getting closer,” Günther exclusively told Motorsport Week. “I think the whole field was pretty much in less than a second. So, it has been extremely competitive.
“I think it will be again tighter than ever. We know how competitive Formula E is, but it’s going to be a big fight next year. I wouldn’t point out necessarily one rival. I think there are quite a few people who looked in a good position. So yeah, at the end, all you can do is you need to focus on your own strength and on your own side.
“This is what I do as a driver, this is what I do with the team and I really feel if we do that step by step, then we can have some good fun this season.”
With the field expected to be so close, the introduction of fast-charging pit-stops could have an impact on the racing itself. There are some fears that the introduction of fast-charging pit-stops will lead to drivers being lapped at shorter circuits, which could make it difficult for the fans to follow and understand what’s going on.
Günther isn’t one of the members of the paddock who is concerned about fast-charging, with him actually believing that it’s “great”.
The 26-year-old is excited to see fast-charging implemented – it remains unconfirmed when it’ll be introduced next year – into the all-electric series as it introduces another “big challenge” for the strategists. Günther has also predicted that every team will “do good calls and bad calls” in the first few races where the technology is in operation.
“First of all, I think it’s great because it’s another element which makes the racing more complex and as well for the spectator more, I guess, exciting as well to watch,” Günther said.
“Certainly, for us it will be a big challenge on a strategy side because as you know, in racing there are often things happen which are difficult to predict and this is why you need to then adapt in the race to that. So, yeah, it will be a learning process for sure.
“We will all do good calls and bad calls in the first few races. I think we have a good understanding how we need to do it. But yeah, it’s a new element and it’s great for Formula E.”