Mahindra Racing shows progression but still endures difficult weekend in Berlin
Mumbai / Banbury, April 23, 2023: Mahindra Racing is returning home from the Sabic Berlin E-Prix after finishing in the points at the halfway point of the 2023 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
After a disappointing qualifying session on Saturday morning, with neither driver advancing to the duels stage and starting P20 and P21 on the grid, the team ended race one with a points finish, as Oliver Rowland brought the #8 Mahindra M9Electro home in 10th place, having made up a brilliant 11 places. Lucas Di Grassi crossed the line just one place behind in 11th.
After two days of sun, the rain came on Sunday leaving the track wet for FP3 and the qualifying session. Both Lucas and Oliver only narrowly missed out on the duels stage, starting P12 and P13 on Sunday afternoon. Trying an alternative strategy at the start of the second race, Oliver unfortunately only finished P14. Lucas made progress up to ninth during the mid-point of the race, but late-race use of attack mode dropped him to P12 at the chequered flag.
After a points finish in Berlin, Oliver Rowland said: “We scored a point during race one which is a positive. But again, I just struggled with a bit of confidence and consistency. FP1 and FP2 were a bit of a challenge just in terms of having some issues so it wasn’t an ideal start to the weekend. The first qualifying was a disaster but a good strategy during the race put me in a position to score points, which was a positive outcome for the first day. Today for the second race, in the wet conditions we hoped for a little bit more. Abt showed that the car is capable of being competitive in the rain, but we didn’t quite hook everything together. In the race I had a bad start because I was on the wet side and I was almost at the back anyway, so we decided to try again what worked in the first race, to save a bit of energy and try and push through at the end, but it was not as successful this time.”
Looking forward to the next race in Monaco, Lucas Di Grassi said: “It was a very difficult weekend for me with zero points. The way the races are going and with our efficiency levels it’s very hard to fight with the leaders so we tried the best we could and today we only missed points by one or two positions so we need to learn what we can do better for Monaco and the next races.”
There was, however, some good news for Mahindra Racing customer team Abt CUPRA Racing after taking not only a pole position with Robin Frijns, but also a front row lock out with Nico Muller starting race two alongside the sister car.
Mahindra Racing CEO, Frederic Bertrand, said: “Firstly, I’d like to congratulate our customer team Abt CUPRA Racing on their pole position and front row lock out for the second race today. Both their drivers did a fantastic job managing to extract what they needed out of their cars to be on the front row for their home race, which must have been a special feeling for them. For us, we were less fortunate. We had a bad qualifying session on Saturday, which put us immediately on the back foot, but this was mostly compensated by a good race strategy and a good recovery drive into the points. On Sunday we did a better qualifying session, but we feel frustrated because we would have liked to extract more, like Abt who showed the potential of the car in difficult conditions was definitely there. The race confirmed that we still struggle with the efficiency of the car as we are still struggling to make our way up into the points, so we still need to work hard on improving this deficit. A points finish was our aim coming to Berlin. The minimum has been done with scoring one point, but it clearly doesn’t feel satisfactory or reflect where we want to be. We need to keep working and improving. Monaco will be our next challenge and we will work hard to perform at our best at this iconic venue.”
The team now begins to prepare for the Monaco E-Prix, which takes place in just under two weeks on Saturday 6thMay.
Mahindra Racing has a strong set of partners, including Official Powertrain Partner ZF and e-fluids partner Shell. Maurice Lacroix, the luxury Swiss watchmaker, continues as the Official Timekeeper.