The Bright Spark Reports from Mexico City
Motorsport has always seen great fluctuations in fortunes; from joy to despair, from glory to adversity. It is all part of the rich fabric of why we love it so much.
At Mexico City last weekend Mahindra Racing experienced the full range of emotions. A technical challenge was met with preparation, anticipation and fortitude as the team were tested on every level.
All this meant that our resident engineering guru was on maximum alert to ensure that the adversity was overcome and that a true ‘Miracle in Mexico’ could be made reality.
This is how it happened...
The Bright Spark says...
In racing we are always looking ahead, whether it is to the next test, race or design.
Sometimes though, you need to adapt and react to changing circumstances, which is what we had to do as a result of some fairly severe issues with Jerome’s car back in Santiago.
Once we pinpointed exactly what the problems were, we had to respond quickly.
Whereas this is usually straightforward in most other categories of racing, in Formula E, where the key components of the car are homologated (essentially checked by the governing body – the FIA, and then sealed for the season), there are strict regulations on modifying parts of the powertrain.
So, as ever at Mahindra, we had to think quickly and put together a decisive plan. It was a question of realising what was best for the car and our long-term championship prospects. We decided to change an aspect of our gearbox on both cars and take the resulting penalties in Mexico.
We took this decision as a team because it made sense technically and sportingly. We then implemented it with great agility, which is typical of the team, despite not having some of the resources of some of our competitors. It was actually a really good case study in decision making.
In the time between Santiago and Mexico we may not have had the car, but we used the time to prepare the solutions and make a clear work plan. When the team arrived in Mexico, we then hit the ground running (that’s tricky to do at altitude ) to implement them.
The way the race turned out was exceptional. The drivers managed to save energy when they could and overtook when they needed to, the pace of the car was good so the satisfaction levels with the final result were high considering we started the race from a different district almost!
Talking of being kept on our toes, the FIA splashed out on three mandatory Attack Mode activations in Mexico, which was a bit of a curveball to receive just one hour before the race. Of course, we plan for all the Attack Mode options, but the norm since its introduction has been two.
However, the time lost to achieve the activation is quite low in Mexico, so maybe that’s the reason why there were three rather than the normal two. Plus, it gave the sell-out crowd of over 40,000 people in the amazing stadium section even more action to yell about. It was a fantastic atmosphere and both Pascal and Jerome were saying how they could hear the crowd when they drove through that part of the circuit.
Now it’s time to move on to the next challenge, Marrakesh! Of course, this is an event we have such fond memories of from last season with Jerome’s fantastic win, which we would certainly love to emulate.
Practically speaking it will be a very important weekend as it features the only in-season test on the Sunday after the race, giving us a rare opportunity to gather some more data and ensure we are in the best shape possible for the rest of the season.