Wolff: Formula E is "Super Mario Kart with real drivers"

Mercedes Formula 1 team principal and motorsport boss Toto Wolff says Formula E is “Super Mario Kart with real drivers” after watching the manufacturer’s new team exceed its debut targets.

Wolff: Formula E is "Super Mario Kart with real drivers"

Wolff attended the two season-opening FE races in Saudi Arabia last weekend, and saw Mercedes drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries qualify second and third for the first event, with the former going on to finish third behind race winner Sam Bird.

Vandoorne also ended up taking third in the second Diriyah E-Prix after on-the-road runner-up Maximilian Gunther was penalised for overtaking behind the safety car.

Wolff, who has attended several FE races since it was announced that Mercedes would leave the DTM to concentrate on its F1 effort and establishing a team in the electric championship back in July 2017, said the results had “overachieved” Mercedes’ “realistic target”.

“I really enjoyed the experience, I must say,” Wolff said in the team principals' press conference for this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“I’ve never been to Saudi Arabia before and launching our Mercedes Formula E journey was very special.

“The crowds were phenomenal, seeing how this country is opening up – something I didn’t expect in that way.

“And the racing is very different to Formula 1, clearly you can say that. For me it’s Super Mario Kart with real drivers, but it’s absolutely valid to give that a chance.

“And Nyck has already contributed a great deal to the team’s performance.He’s very mature and the way he’s – as a personality and as a racing driver – been able to slot into the team with Stoffel is really nice to see.

“We have set our ambitions or our expectations on a realistic target, which we have overachieved and both of the drivers contributed to this happening.”

Mercedes FE team principal Ian James said his squad “didn't expect it at all” to score a debut podium.

“We didn't really know what to expect if I'm completely honest,” he continued to Motorsport.com

“The last couple of days [before the season started] were pretty grim for all of us because just not knowing is probably the worst thing.

“But now we do know that we've got at least a strong, competitive package.”

Vandoorne was beaten to second place in the first Diriyah race by Andre Lotterer, which meant Porsche also recorded a debut FE podium.

Lotterer indicated that the result had also be somewhat unanticipated at his squad.

“P2 for the first race is great,” he told Motorsport.com. “I don't know if anyone expected that but obviously I wanted to be on the podium.

“We come, we race to win. But relatively [we] would have been [expecting] a top 10, maybe.

“But the podium was nice. You can always do better. It's never ending it in any team. So, this is our base and we will try to improve from there.”

Andre Lotterer, Porsche, Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes Benz EQ congratulate each other on the podium

Andre Lotterer, Porsche, Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes Benz EQ congratulate each other on the podium

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

shares
comments
The unluckiest driver in a race of chaos
Previous article

The unluckiest driver in a race of chaos

Next article

Formula E receives FIA world championship status for 2020/21

Formula E receives FIA world championship status for 2020/21
Load comments
Why Maserati's shift to Formula E is a win for both sides Prime

Why Maserati's shift to Formula E is a win for both sides

Maserati will make a full-factory return to racing, joining the Formula E grid in 2023 with a view to electrifying its road car portfolio. In that regard it makes sense for Maserati - but it's also a win for the series as it seeks to rebound from losing three of its heavyweight German giants in the space of a few months

Formula E
Jan 11, 2022
The fundamental questions facing a Formula E junior series Prime

The fundamental questions facing a Formula E junior series

As Formula E prepares to enter its new Gen3 era, many have pondered the prospect of its existing machines continuing in a feeder category. But before such a programme could be embarked on, there are several important questions that must be satisfactorily answered.

Formula E
Jan 4, 2022
De Vries: Why Formula E title success felt so different to F2 Prime

De Vries: Why Formula E title success felt so different to F2

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was wide open until the final race after its most unpredictable season yet. Eventual champion Nyck de Vries explains why this made his title-winning experience such a different experience to conquering F2 in 2019

Formula E
Dec 7, 2021
Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong Prime

Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong

Formula E welcomes a mix of past, present and future for the 2021-22 season. The old guard facing off against a sprinkling of newcomers, a fresh qualifying format amid a sporting rules shake-up and a range of minor tweaks to the existing all-electric machines are all subplots to the final campaign before the next generation arrives

Formula E
Dec 3, 2021
The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two FE teams Prime

The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two FE teams

Electing not to share data with its competitive customer team would have been a straightforward means of gaining an edge on at least one of Mercedes' Formula E rivals last season. But by reciprocating the relationship forged under its initial HWA guise, when it was a customer to Venturi, both teams have reaped the rewards

Formula E
Nov 30, 2021
How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait Prime

How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait

With its ultra-successful sister team in Formula 1 and a support network providing some of the best minds and resources in the business, Mercedes Formula E team principal Ian James knew his squad had all the winning ingredients. But mixing it together was no easy feat and required key attributes to be grown from within

Formula E
Nov 29, 2021
How Formula E's polarising newcomer Ticktum can prove himself Prime

How Formula E's polarising newcomer Ticktum can prove himself

OPINION: Few figures in racing today divide opinion like Dan Ticktum. The Formula 2 race winner now has the chance to wipe his professional slate clean with his move into Formula E, but it won't be easy at the squad which has brought up the rear for the past three years. Here are the three key criteria he must meet to make a lasting impression on the series.

Formula E
Nov 27, 2021
How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E Prime

How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E

By virtue of its Formula 1 success, Mercedes was expected to rise to power in Formula E before long. That it won both the drivers' and manufacturers' championships this year, after only two seasons as a full works effort, belies a tricky path littered with potential pitfalls

Formula E
Nov 26, 2021