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Dennis on Formula E and Red Bull

Red Bull simulator driver impresses in FE: 'That was unexpected'

26 January 2023 at 10:13
Last update 26 January 2023 at 12:08

The first ePrix of the season was won by Jake Dennis. The Brit crossed the finish line with a lead of almost eight seconds. Speaking to GPblog, Dennis looks ahead to the upcoming race weekend and reveals exactly what kind of work he does for Red Bull Racing.

A strong start in Mexico

For Dennis, the Formula E season couldn't have started better. In his third season in the electric class, Dennis is driving for Andretti's team, which will use Porsche's powertrain in 2023. After finishing second in qualifying, Dennis quickly grabbed the lead and was unbeatable.

"I'm still super happy. To take the first win in the first race of the season with the new Gen3 cars is super impressive. There wasn’t too much time to celebrate, we had to refocus and rechannel our minds into Diriyah," said Dennis ahead of the two races in Saudi Arabia this weekend.

Things are looking good for Dennis in that respect too. A first win speaks volumes, but Porsche's performance in particular stood out. The four Porsche-powered cars all finished in the top seven, with cars from Andretti and Porsche's factory team at one and two.

"It was very unexpected, because Valencia [winter testing] didn't really go to plan. We didn't seem that competitive in Valencia. But to arrive in Mexico and have three cars in the top four was super impressive." 

A title in Formula E?

Still, Dennis does not want to get too excited. The cars are still very new and the powertrain performance can vary from race weekend to race weekend. Behind Porsche, Mahindra, Nissan and Jaguar also seemed to be doing quite well. They will therefore be hoping to be strong again in Diriyah.

Drivers and teams will have a better understanding of Hankook's tyres. "They seem pretty good, they are more robust than last season. No denying that. They supply less grip, but it’s something that the FE organisers pushed for. They are a lot more durable now."

Still, Dennis keeps both feet on the ground. The Brit does not believe he will just keep winning. The car is good, but dominating like in Mexico will not be possible every weekend according to him. "I’d be happy with a top-five this weekend, if we can try to score consistent points weekend in, weekend out. That’s the best way of focusing on the championship."

Dennis finished sixth in the championship last season, but finished third in the FE season the year before. Then he had to settle for a spot behind Nyck de Vries and Edoardo Mortara. One day he does hope to take that next step, but the focus is mainly on performing to the maximum.

"(It is my goal) to deliver the best possible result every time I get in the car. It’s impossible to say where I predict to be at the end of the championship. We’ve had a good first race, but I won’t know if we are competitive the whole way through until maybe after Cape Town. Right now, I just need to deliver with the package underneath me."

Red Bull Racing simulator driver

Apart from Formula E, Dennis has a busy schedule. The 27-year-old driver has raced in various categories in the past and is still part of the BMW programme in 2023. However, most of those races (IMSA) clash with FE. Dennis does, however, work for Red Bull Racing for the sixth year in a row in 2023.

"It’s a bit of a different role with Red Bull. I’ve never officially been on their young driver program. I’ve always been an employee for them. Working on the simulator side and some F1 testing. I am still linked with them, I’ve signed a new contract," Dennis told GPblog.

Dennis went on to explain the simulator work he carries out. "It's race support when they are at the track, for example, the Monza GP I am there at the simulator back at base in Milton Keynes and making sure we’re going in the right direction."

As a result, Dennis is in frequent contact with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. "Any questions asked they can run it through the simulator which is predominantly my biggest role with them. I still stay in contact with them, the communication between all the drivers at Red Bull is super important."

Dennis will compete in the ePrix of Diriyah. After his win in Mexico, the real test now follows for Andretti. Can they compete for the win at multiple circuits and thus have a shot at the title? Dennis will hope so. The race weekend starts on Thursday with the first free practice, followed by the first race on Friday and the second on Saturday. You can follow the Formula E weekend on GPblog.