Mahindra Racing has made rapid strides in Formula E since joining the technology reformation in vehicles in November 2013. The city-based automobile manufacturing company has started participating in the FIA Formula E Championship since its inception in September 2014 in Beijing. It secured a historic maiden victory with a double podium in the first of the two Berlin ePrix races this weekend.
Rising Swedish star Felix Rosenqvist scored his maiden win with a mature drive, finishing on the top step of the podium with his German team-mate Nick Heidfeld in third place. Rosenqvist led from start to finish in the second German race at the Tempelhof Airport circuit next day. However, a ten-second penalty for an unsafe release into pit lane relegated him to second place behind competitor Sébastien Buemi.
Mahindra Racing is emerging as a genuine contender in the highly competitive all-electric championship with its M3Electro race car. Rosenqvist lies third in the Drivers’ Championship with Heidfeld a little further back in fifth. Mahindra Racing has further consolidated its third position in the teams’ standings and lies 22 points shy of second-placed ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport. “We are reaching the end of the third season with the last four races to go. It has been a satisfying performance so far,” Dilbagh Gill, Team Principal, Mahindra Racing Formula E Team said.
Mahindra Racing competes against the world’s largest manufacturers such as Renault, Abt Sportsline (Audi), Jaguar, Virgin Racing (Citroen), Venturi Automobiles and NextEV NIO. Next month, the final four races will take place in North America, with two spectacular double-header events in New York and Montreal. Each venue is completely new to the FIA Formula E Championship, so simulator preparation will prove crucial for the teams. Mahindra Racing will be aiming for more podium successes as well as chasing its second win of the season.
“It is an interesting pair (of drivers), Felix is fast, while Nick is experienced. They feed up each other very well, and both are improving. Remaining in the top five (in the 10-team event) in both championships shows the quality of the people we have. We are running third now and hoping for a strong finish,” Gill added. The only-Indian manufacturer in the Championship set up the team for Season 1 in 2014/15 with former Formula 1 drivers Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna. Senna and Heidfeld had competed in the second season before Rosenqvist joined Heidfeld for the ongoing third season.
Mahindra is no stranger to sports ventures with their football club Mahindra United existing successfully till 2010 as well as its association with two-wheeled motorsports. But Formula E was something new for Mahindra, as was racing in a single-seater car, but so far, the journey has been satisfactory. “It has been a real challenge. We knew we would be competing against the best. Karun set up things well, which helped us in marketing. We respect the quality of the field. With top players (like BMW, Mercedes) also coming into the fray, we are aware of the competition level we will face in the future, but we want to maintain what we have been doing,” he said.
Gill felt Formula E though not familiar yet can be as popular as Formula 1, and both can co-exist. “From a technology perspective, it is relevant and the way forward. Other races (Formula 1) will also remain relevant as they each have their charm. Both can co-exist.
All the key manufacturers are promoting electric motors. It helps in a faster rate of growth. We are just two and half years old. There is a long way to go. Things are happening slowly and steadily,” he said.
Why Formula E
- The FIA Formula E Championship uses electric cars and single seater racing series.
- The concept was laid down by FIA President Jean Todt in 2012 and implemented by Formula E’s Chief Executive Officer, Alejandro Agag.
- The Formula E championship is currently contested by ten teams with two drivers each. Racing generally takes place on temporary city-center street circuits which are approximately 2 to 3.4 km (1.2 to 2.1 mi) long.
- An electric vehicle resurgence has been taking place since 2008. This resurgence has spread, with many in racing, supporting electric vehicles even in the face of significant opposition. The people who are against the move, feel that ‘noise and speed’ are the heart and soul of racing. Formula E is not loud or fast, especially when compared to the other historical forms of racing.