Mahindra Racing show strong pace and positive steps forward on return to racing in São Paulo
Mumbai / Banbury, March 26, 2023: Mahindra Racing finished 13th and 15th at the end of round six of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Racing at his home event for the first time in Formula E history, Brazilian hero Lucas Di Grassi recovered from a disappointing qualifying session to finish 13th at the end of the race today. Starting 22nd on the grid, he powered his way through the field in the Brazilian heat, making up nine places by the time the chequered flag fell. Even though he made a good recovery, it is clearly not the result Lucas, or the team, wants to come away with, especially after showing good pace and renewed confidence in the Mahindra M9Electro during each of the practice sessions.
Oliver Rowland was fully determined to get a good result in Sao Paulo too, but also suffered with a disappointing qualifying session. Starting 19th on the grid, Oliver had a fantastic start and was running just outside the top-10 when he was hit with a five-second time penalty for not following the race director’s instructions after being forced off track by another car. Due to the bunched-up field caused by two safety car periods, Oliver had little time to make a decent gap to the rest of the field and ultimately crossed the line 16th. After post-race checks, and reviewing more footage of the incident, the stewards overturned his five-second penalty, and he was promoted to 15th in the classification.
Proud, but tired after racing on home turf, Lucas Di Grassi said: “I did a mistake in qualifying, and I take responsibility for that, but I feel I extracted the most out of the car that I could in the race. I don’t think we would have finished much higher in the race than I did, as the efficiency compared to our competitors isn’t there. We need to go back home and analyse what happened. I’m very happy the week is over! It’s been the busiest week of my life. But I’m very pleased with how the event went, the passion for Formula E that the crowds showed was amazing. I hope we can keep coming back here year after year so I have another chance of winning one!”
After some good battles throughout the race, Oliver Rowland said: “It was a difficult weekend. We didn’t quite get the balance we needed in the car and maybe tried a few too many things, when we should have just kept it simple. Qualifying wasn’t great for me, but the race was much more positive. I was a bit unlucky with how it panned out, but I’m glad the stewards reviewed the penalty situation, which eventually got overturned. There’s still lots for us all as a team to learn and work on ahead of Berlin.”
Reflecting on the issues the team faced, CEO, Frederic Bertrand, said: “The first priority for us here was to show we had an operational car, which thankfully, we did. We had a car that was reasonably good for qualifying, but the session was bad for both drivers. For one, a lack of feeling in the car and for the other, an incident that ruined a promising lap time. Starting from the back, the race was a big fight with a lot of crashes and safety cars. I think Lucas and Oliver managed this quite well and they both had reasonable pace. For Lucas I think he did the best job he could do, and Oliver had some great battles. But we made too many mistakes, like missing attack mode and avoidable contact. We know we are still not where we want to be, but for the moment we really need races without mistakes – the gap to the rest of the field is still too great. We now have four weeks ahead of us to prepare for Berlin. We are hopeful to be able to fix some issues, which will hopefully improve the drivers’ feeling in the car as we go into the rest of the season.”
The next round of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship takes place in Berlin, Germany on 22-23 April.
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.