Formula E debutant Pascal Wehrlein admits electric racing is unlike anything he has ever experienced before – and having watched his fellow ex-F1 drivers struggle in Race 1 he is expecting a tough challenge in Marrakesh.
The German is one of three new faces on the grid with F1 pedigree, joining Stoffel Vandoorne and Felipe Massa – but any preconceptions they would come in and dominate were put to bed in Ad Diriyah as they finished 16th and 17th in a pair of harrowing debuts.
The former Sauber man, now driving for Mahindra in Formula E, was forced to sit out the season opener due to his Mercedes Junior F1 contract and watched on as a chaotic race was won by BMW’s Antonio Felix Da Costa.
With a unique Gen2 car, a timed 45-minute format and the revolutionary ‘Attack Mode’ speed boosts during the race, the 24-year-old has been forced to learn a lot in the lead-up to his debut which will be live on the BBC Online this Saturday at 3pm.
Mahindra test driver Nick Heidfeld has more experience than most and has been working closely with his countryman to prepare him for the challenge. And facing one of the most fiercely competitive grids in motorsport, Wehrlein admits he is keeping his expectations in check.
“It is totally different and especially during the race there are so many different things you have to think about so it is going to be difficult,” he said. “Formula E has a very strong driver line up and it’s challenging but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s exciting to drive against that high level, and it will be hard to be competitive, but that’s the challenge – and it’s an exciting challenge.
“I don’t have any expectations. My main priority is to learn as much as possible about Formula E, as fast as possible.”
Wehrlein has had the career of a man much older – holding the record for the youngest ever DTM champion and being involved in four different Formula One set-ups which will soon become five as he joins Ferrari’s development program this year.
But despite having what could be considered a stop-start career so far Werhlein insists the experience will serve him well in Formula E.
“I can and will adapt quickly,” he added. “I changed series the last three or four years, nearly every year driving a different car and having to adapt again, and I am used to that.
“I would have preferred to drive the first race. If you miss the first race, it’s not great. You are competing in a series and you want to compete in all the races.
“Unfortunately that was not possible but now it’s 2019 and there are a few races to go.”