How Guenther and Maserati MSG Racing won the first Tokyo E-Prix

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How Guenther and Maserati MSG Racing won the first Tokyo E-Prix

Ahead of a back-to-back of home races for Maserati MSG Racing, first in the Trident's native Italy then MSG Racing's Monaco a fortnight later, we look at how Maximilian Guenther steered to the team's first win of Season 10 on our maiden trip to Tokyo, Japan.

Maserati win in Tokyo 3

Maximilian Guenther chased down polesitter Oliver Rowland, racing in front of a passionate support on home soil for Nissan, to seal Maserati MSG Racing's first win of Season 10 on Formula E's first trip to Japan and the maiden Tokyo E-Prix.

READ MORE: Catch up with all the latest content from Maserati MSG Racing

As a new circuit on the calendar, every team and driver was placed on an equal footing in Tokyo, and tasting victory in such a scenario not only comes down to pace and meticulous preparation but a desire for success.

How did Maserati MSG Racing win Formula E’s first race in Japan?

The team examined its data closely to create a blow-by-blow, with input from Chief Engineer Cyril Blas, detailing just how Guenther and the team pieced together a perfect race and made the top step of the podium in dramatic fashion.

Free Practice 1: Max turns his first timed laps of the Tokyo Street Circuit in Japan. With standing water on the approach to Turn 1, track conditions are challenging and far from representative. While several drivers make mistakes, leading to two Red Flags, Max keeps calm to set the third-fastest time – a 1m21.140s.

READ MORE: All the key moments from Tokyo

Free Practice 2: The team’s preparations continue in FP2, and while the track continues to catch out drivers, Max delivers a clean session to collect crucial data insights en route to the third-fastest time of the session, only 0.088 seconds adrift of pacesetter Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing).

“Having versatility in Formula E is super important, and through small refinements, we were able to evolve. After placing third in FP1 and FP2, we knew we had the pace to finish on the podium,” says Cyril Blais, Chief Engineer, Maserati MSG Racing.

PREVIEW: The Misano E-Prix Rounds 6 & 7

Qualifying Group B: Max converts his pace from practice into results at the start of qualifying. He completes a total of seven laps in Group B, but his fifth run, a 1m19.391, is the fastest of Group B to put Max into the Duels.

Quarters: Max faces Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein in the Quarter-Finals and outpaces the Porsche driver by 0.308 seconds to advance to the penultimate stage of qualifying.


Semis: Max goes up against Sergio Sette Camara in the Semi-Finals. A mistake costs the ERT driver dearly, but with a 1:19.046 lap, Max progresses to the final with a 2.198 second advantage.

Final: Oliver Rowland is Max’s opponent in the Final. The Nissan driver edges ahead of Max in Sector One by 0.218 seconds, yet Max fights back, outpacing him by 0.07 seconds in Sector Two and then by 0.127 seconds in Sector 3. Unfortunately, Max misses out on Julius Baer Pole Position by only 0.021 seconds to start from second on the grid in the race.

Lights out in Tokyo

Lap 1: Starting the Tokyo E-Prix off the racing line, Max struggles for traction when the race gets underway and loses second place to Edoardo Mortara into Turn 1. He quickly settles into third, less than one second adrift of leader Rowland.

“Max was starting off the racing line, and because this area was wet in FP1 and FP2, it was extremely dirty, so there was barely any traction from a standing-start. We lost second place on the first lap, and this put us in a difficult position because we had to change our strategy immediately,” says Cyril Blais, Chief Engineer, Maserati MSG Racing


Lap 6: With a clear pace advantage over Edo Mortara, Max attempts to overtake the Mahindra Racng driver on lap six but is unable to find a way past. He continues to hold third, only 0.529 seconds adrift.

Lap 11: Max reclaims second place in Turn 4 when Mortara activates his first of two ATTACK MODEs in the race.

Lap 13: Rowland activates ATTACK MODE, allowing Max to take the lead. With clean air ahead, Max pushes hard with the aim of building a large enough gap to overcut Mortara in third. He holds a 1.145 second advantage at the end of Lap 13.

Lap 14: Max drives around the outside of Turn 4 to activate his first ATTACK MODE. He loses position to Rowland, and rejoins directly alongside Mortara, but yields the place into Turn 5. With the benefit of extra power, Max overtakes the Swiss-Italian later in the lap to take second.

“Overtaking was quite difficult in Tokyo and every team was well prepared. Max showed great confidence, made the move on Mortara and after that, it was a waiting game because we were planning when to take our second ATTACK MODE," adds Cyril Blais, Chief Engineer, Maserati MSG Racing.

Lap 15: Max chases after Rowland. The gap stands at 0.382 seconds.

Maserati win in Tokyo 1

Lap 20: Following multiple accidents on track, the Safety Car is deployed to clear up debris. The race is temporarily neutralised, and the field is bunched up.

Lap 22: As the Safety Car peels into the pits, the race resumes once more at the end of lap 22, allowing Max to continue his pursuit of Rowland.

Lap 25: After measuring up the lead lap after lap, Max performs a critical overtake on Rowland who lifts early into Turn 10. He immediately starts to push, again with the aim of building a large enough gap to take his final ATTACK MODE without losing track position.

Lap 26: In his first full push lap after taking the lead, Max opens his gap over Rowland to 1.197 seconds, lapping 2.817 seconds faster than when he was in traffic.

Lap 27: Max continues to build his lead. With the gap standing at 1.723 seconds at the end of the lap, his time to strike is edging ever-closer.

Maserati win in Tokyo 2

Lap 28: Max takes his second ATTACK MODE and crucially rejoins the race ahead of Rowland. He settles back into a consistent energy saving routine.

Lap 35: Max starts the final lap facing immense pressure from behind. Rowland desperately tries to overtake Turn Three, Turn 10, and Turn 15, but Max defends expertly to take the chequered flag and win the inaugural Tokyo E-Prix – his first victory of the season and his second with Maserati MSG Racing.