Mahindra Racing taking positives from a difficult weekend in Saudi Arabia
Mumbai / Banbury, January 29, 2023: Mahindra Racing experienced mixed results in Saudi Arabia during rounds two and three of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Despite this, the Indian outfit is still feeling positive about their progress in Season 9, looking towards their home race in Hyderabad in two weeks’ time.
Heading into the second event of Season 9, the team were still on a high after their podium success in Mexico, carrying that into qualifying on Friday. Both Lucas Di Grassi and Oliver Rowland made it through to the head-to-head duels after a fantastic group stage where they faced off against each other and eight other drivers. They started from seventh and eighth respectively, but were squeezed at the start, having to take avoiding action and dropping a couple of places. Oliver was hit from behind in the melee and picked up a puncture leading to a pit stop that ultimately dropped him out of contention, finishing the race in P19. Lucas was more fortunate, avoiding the chaos and bringing the #11 M9Electro home in P13.
Heading into round three on Saturday, the pair were unlucky to miss out on the duel stages in qualifying by a very small margin, with each car in their group all within just over half a second of each other. Starting P14 for Oliver and P20 for Lucas, the pair had a good launch but ultimately couldn’t make progress through the field. Oliver retired from the race on lap 32 with suspected rear suspension damage, the cause of the failure still to be determined by the team. Lucas made up five places by the time he crossed the line, finishing P15.
Speaking after the race, CEO Frederic Bertrand said: “It was a rollercoaster weekend. We started with good feelings, and a strong first qualifying, with both cars making the duels. In the race we had no luck on the first lap, destroying the potential for a good result. Day two was a difficult one, with the team carrying some disappointment and frustration from the day before. In the race, the cars were not at the level they should have been. Overall, there’s some frustration, plenty of learnings, but still a lot of energy and excitement in the preparation for Hyderabad. Even if we are disappointed, we are not discouraged.”
Former champion Lucas Di Grassi said: “We had a hard weekend. I qualified well in the first race but I got hit at the start, although luckily I didn’t pick up any damage. We pushed as much as we could but we finished with no points, which is frustrating after a good day’s work. We didn’t manage to qualify well for the second race but we had good pace compared to the people around us. We started from further back and managed to gain some positions, finishing P15. We didn’t score any points though so we need to go back home and understand what went on. Diriyah was a much harder weekend than Mexico but hopefully with the next event being India, we can have a good one for the team’s home race.”
Looking for a comeback in India, Oliver Rowland said: “During the first race a couple of cars went wide at the start and I tried to stay out of trouble but got hit from behind resulting in a puncture. I guess that was the race over, but we continued to gather some data. During the second race something felt wrong with the car and then I retired with suspension damage, which the team are investigating the cause of. But we refocus now and move onto Hyderabad – I’m excited to get there and experience the home crowd.”
The team are now fully focused on their homecoming in just two weeks’ time, where they aim to get back their Mexico magic at the Greenko Hyderabad E-Prix.
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.