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In search of Andretti's success: 'That's because of him'

In search of Andretti's success: 'That's because of him'

15 February - 16:16 Last update: 16:29

The season has started extremely well for the Avalanche Andretti Formula E team. Jake Dennis managed to win the first ePrix and after four races, the team sit second in the constructors' standings. GPblog spoke to team boss Roger Griffiths about the season so far. 

Advancing in Formula E

Andretti has been working steadily to advance in Formula E for years. Michael Andretti's team first partnered with BMW, but now seem to have gold in their hands with the Porsche deal. Dennis won the first race and finished second twice in Saudi Arabia. In India, things went wrong towards the end, but the Brit is still second in the championship.

So a big leap forward for Griffiths' team, but he doesn't want to get his hopes up too much. ''I think it's not to get complacent. It would be easy to sit back and just say, oh, we're dominant, you know, it's going into every weekend expecting the others to catch up," said the Andretti team boss in an exclusive interview with GPblog.

"We have to keep pushing as hard as we pushed between Valencia and the first race in Mexico city for the rest of the season. It's nice to have to get out of the gate early and to have this lead, but we've got a target painted on our back now and so everybody is going to be paying attention to what we do." In the ePrix in India, it was also immediately clear to the team that any race can be won. Dennis and René Rast touched which meant Dennis dropped from fourth to outside the points. André Lotterer did not move beyond ninth place.

The partnership with Porsche

Andretti's secret weapon this year is their collaboration with Porsche. Porsche provides the powertrain and also provides the software for the four cars. Speaking to Florian Modlinger, it was already clear that Porsche also sees Andretti's cars as part of the Porsche family, and Griffiths is also very happy with the collaboration.

Still, they are two teams both aiming for the same thing: to become world champions. ''One of the things I'm always very keen to do is to set targets for the team. You shouldn't use these targets as something to beat yourself up over if you don't achieve them, you use them as a way to measure your performance and also a way to improve."

''We always go to a race ultimately with the goal of trying to do our best and doing our best means winning or doing our best means finishing 10th. That's what happens. I think it's too early to get excited about a world championship. If we're in this position on the other side of the European season after Monaco, then I think we should very much have our sights on championships."

But how do you make a difference as a customer team compared to a factory team? Porsche tests the cars and also takes care of development. Andretti contributes to that, but the software all comes from Porsche and the German manufacturer ultimately controls the route chosen with development. Still, according to Griffiths, Andretti can still make a difference compared to the manufacturer with their drivers and their own choice of setup.

Andretti's success

For Andretti, the FE success is yet another positive chapter in motorsport. In IndyCar, the team have been competing at the top for years, winning the championship several times and also the coveted Indy 500. In Formula E, they are now also finding the podium, while in the background they are working hard on an F1 project. So what makes Andretti such a great success?

"I think it's Michael to be honest. It's Michael's passion. It is his leadership, it's his direction and his guidance and he trusts the individuals that are responsible for running, whether it's Indycar, Formula E, or Extreme E and we all share his passion. Even though he's not in the garage with us at every race, we feel his presence is there. In the back of your mind, you're like, 'am I leading this team in the manner that Michael would expect me to?' I think that's what drives us forward and it's a family," Griffiths concluded.

The Formula E season resumes next week with the Cape Town ePrix in South Africa on 25 February. This will be followed by a one-month break. The ePrix in Sao Paulo is then on the schedule before the electric class crosses over to Europe for a Double Header in Berlin.

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