Shock test hints at Porsche Formula E line-up change

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Porsche has begun to look into a possible change in its driver line-up for the 2024-25 Formula E season after recently testing Abt Cupra driver Nico Mueller.

The team currently leads the drivers’ championship with Pascal Wehrlein, whose team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa failed to score in the first three races of 2024 but took top six finishes in Sao Paulo and Tokyo.

The Race has learned that Mueller ran with Porsche at the Almeria track in Spain during the gap between the Diriyah and Sao Paulo E-Prixs.

Mueller is now already being linked to a possible move to Porsche for next season and is believed to be a free agent at the end of the present campaign.

When asked directly by The Race at the Tokyo E-Prix last week if Porsche had tried out Mueller, the firm’s director of factory motorsport for Formula E, Florian Modlinger, replied: “We did test in Almeria and our two main drivers [da Costa and Wehrlein] were there.

“On top, as is the standard process at Porsche, we were testing other drivers to evaluate for the future. But which drivers we tested we will not say at the moment.”

The test is believed to have had an emphasis on the so-called Gen3.5 changes for next season with Modlinger adding that “we are already preparing for the Gen3.5 period”.

That is set to fuel speculation that Porsche will alter its present line-up. It has run Wehrlein since 2021 while 2019/20 champion da Costa was signed from the DS Techeetah team ahead of the 2023 season.

Wehrlein is believed to have a secure deal and option with Porsche for next season, while the detail of da Costa’s deal is unknown but likely to include an option on his services.

However Mueller’s test would suggest that a move for the Swiss driver, who is well-known to Modlinger through working in the DTM together for several seasons, is imminent if not already underway.

Abt Cupra would not comment on Mueller’s test when approached by The Race in Tokyo last week.

The Swiss is believed to be a free agent in Formula E at the end of the current season. But his choices of programmes could prove to be complex as he represents Porsche’s rival Peugeot in the World Endurance Championship, where Peugeot’s parent company Stellantis is already represented by DS and Maserati.

Mueller already represents part of Porsche’s parent company the VW Group in FE to a degree, through his Abt team’s branding deal with Cupra. Abt was also until recently in talks with Porsche over a future FE powertrain partnership.

He has had an impressive run of performances for Abt Cupra since last summer, scoring all of the team’s points since then and making several appearances in the qualifying knock-out duels.

He finished seventh in last week’s Tokyo E-Prix and has been a key factor in the overall prospects of a resurgence for the Mahindra Gen3 design that Abt runs as a customer.

Wehrlein has so far outscored da Costa by 43 points so far this season, although da Costa beat his team-mate in the race last weekend taking fourth place and his best result for the team since the Portland E-Prix last June.

Three rookies to test for Porsche

Thomas Preining, Dennis Hauger (pictured above) and Matt Campbell will all get Formula E tests with Porsche at forthcoming E-Prixs.

The Race can reveal that DTM champion Preining and Formula 2 racer Hauger will drive in May’s rookie test at Berlin Tempelhof while Porsche sportscar star Campbell will make an appearance in next week’s extra free practice session at Misano.

While Preining has already run with the team in previous private and public tests, Campbell and Hauger will get their first FE experience.

Campbell has enjoyed a successful start to his 2024 season, winning the Daytona 24 Hours and Bathurst 12 Hours in Porsches, and he also shone at last month’s opening WEC round in Qatar by taking pole and finishing third.

Hauger is competing in his third F2 season with MP Motorsport in 2024, while reigning Preining will continue to race for the Manthey squad in this year’s DTM, which kicks off at the end of April at Oschersleben.

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