Reigning champ Dennis gives update on his biggest rivals this season

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Reigning champ Dennis gives update on his biggest rivals this season

Andretti's Jake Dennis discusses the big improvements and his relationship with powertrain supplier TAG Heuer Porsche this year.

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Coming into Season 10, a lot of pressure sat on Jake Dennis’ shoulders. The Andretti driver had a record-breaking season on his way to his Formula E World Championship title, claiming 11 podiums across 16 races and two wins to his name. However, over the off seasons, there have been plenty of driver swaps and software updates to teams that have changed the ‘ones to watch’ list in 2024. 

THE ADDED LAP: Jake Dennis on his title defence, those 'struggles' and more

Speaking exclusively to Formula E, Dennis shared his thoughts on who his biggest challengers could be across the remaining 13 rounds this season. 

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“The TAG Heuer Porsche and the Jaguar TCS Racing generally still look a bit of a step ahead to the others in terms of energy efficiency. I would say the gap, and the limitations that we had and the limitations that they had has generally carried over from last season. They're still incredibly strong in traction areas and they will be very good at street circuits.

“We probably looked slightly more efficient again in the racing, but it's difficult to say.”

From the first trio races, all three different winners have either been with a Porsche or Jaguar powertrain. First up was Pascal Wehrlein with Porsche in Mexico City, Dennis was next in his Andretti X99 which is powered by Porsche and finally Nick Cassidy got his maiden win in Diriyah with the Jaguar team. 

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However, we have also seen the likes of DS PENSKE and Jean-Eric Vergne on the podium with their Stellantis powertrain and McLaren came very close with both Bird and Hughes to a top three finish at one of their home races in Diriyah. 

“I'd say the biggest differences have come from the likes of DS PENSKE and Maserati MSG Racing, NEOM McLaren and Nissan. You know, McLaren last year didn't look like the most efficient thing in the world, but Jake Hughes and Sam Bird both had really good races and high energy left at the end of the race.

Hughes Bird Diriyah Track Walk

“If anything's changed, I'd say it's more the top to middle part of the field and not so much the Porsche and Jaguar, that's still quite the same.”

With McLaren being supplied powertrains by Nissan, and both DS PENSKE and Maserati MSG Racing having the same deals with Stellantis, it makes sense that these two teams have seen equal jumps in performance. 

Nissan even found themselves with the Julius Baer Pole Position last time out thanks to heroic efforts by Yorkshireman Oliver Rowland. 

READ MORE: Podium brings 'confidence' for Nissan returnee Rowland

Working together with Porsche has been so important for the Andretti team, as Dennis explains:

“Having the relationship between the two teams is very valuable. This year, we've taken another step closer. Last year, obviously, things got quite heated between the two teams, and probably wasn't the best relationship from the outside in. This year, having the off season, we've had meetings and reconvened together. It's been a really good partnership so far, but it's just the likes of sharing data, set ups and run plans. It's full transparency between the two teams, like having four cars instead of two. 

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“It’s the same as how Jaguar and Envision Racing work. There's nothing really fancy about it on what we do differently to other teams, it's very much just full open topics, between the two teams, sharing debriefs and stuff like that. 

“It's a really good relationship at the moment, and the four drivers are working well together. Ultimately, we want to try and beat Jaguar this year in the Constructors' Championship. 

“Hopefully, it continues in that direction and we can keep moving the powertrain further forward because obviously next year is a big year in terms of the GEN3 EVO, and four wheel drive and all this. So it's important to have, you know, four drivers instead of two. It's important to have like 20 engineers instead of 10.”

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Next up for Dennis and the rest of the field is São Paulo, Brazil. Last year Jaguar powertrains dominated the podium, with Mitch Evans (Jaguar) winning and then-teammate Sam Bird in third. Nick Cassidy, who has now moved to the Jaguar team, finished in second for Envision, with the top three separated by just half a second at the chequered flag!

Evans Bird Sao Paulo S9

“The Jaguars were incredibly strong there and it's partly down to their strengths, and that they had about eight or nine traction zones, which made the difference for us,” the Brit added.

“Ultimately, I think we'll be competitive. I think we'll be strong. There's no reason why we can't go into that race thinking we can win it. I just don't think we really executed the perfect weekend from my side. Andre Lotterer was actually relatively competitive that weekend, in comparison to some of his other weekends. I just didn't extract the best out of it. I'm going into that race weekend thinking we can have a top result.”

Formula E returns to the streets of Brazil on 16 March for a blockbuster racing event.