The FIA Formula E World Championship is all set to make its India debut as Hyderabad gears up to host Round 4 of the all-electric race. While the country’s first street circuit is getting decked up around the iconic Hussain Sagar, with the Gautam Buddha statue towering over in the middle of the lake, teams and drivers have touched down in the city.
The Jaguar TCS Racing team unveiled its I-TYPE 6 car at the TCS Adibatla campus, and its ace driver Mitch Evans opined that Formula E will stand the test of time and that the championship is heading in the right direction.
“The Formula E Championship is here to stay, and I see a bright future in electric cars and racing. From Jaguar’s point of view, it is going to be a fully electric car company from 2025 onwards. In just two years, Jaguar going fully electric is amazing, and that’s the direction where we are heading. The championship is only going to get bigger and will only continue to grow with time,” Mitch told Sportstar in an exclusive interaction.
On his maiden visit to India, the Jaguar driver is looking forward to the race with his team currently standing in fourth position.
“It’s really exciting to be in India. It’s a new culture and it’s going to be a big race for us. With Tata Jaguar, it’s almost like a home race for us. London and India are our two home races and I am particularly looking to drive on this track, and the circuit looks really good. It promises to be a fast one, and hopefully, we have a good result,” he said.
Dressed in smart casuals and sporting dark shades, Mitch could feel the prevailing hot conditions in Hyderabad and pointed out that weather will play a key role. The drivers will now be racing in what are being predicted as bright and sunny conditions. The race comprises 32 laps in the 2.83km street circuit, and the Jaguar driver will be ready when the lights go green on Saturday at 3:00 PM IST.
“The weather is always going to be challenging, but most of the races we go to are held in hot conditions. However, the last three races have been held in cold conditions and acclimatisation in Indian conditions, and the current time zone will be the key. It’s not unusual, but it’s a new car with a new set of tyres and they have to be managed. Also understanding the track will be very critical in winning the race. Overall it’s going to be a challenging weekend, but I am ready for it.”
The Auckland-born 28-year-old, who achieved a record seven podium finishes during Season 8 of the championship began his electric racing career in 2016. Under the mentorship of Mark Webber, the young driver went on to win the 2012 GP3 title. Having a wealth of experience under his belt, Mitch feels that driving an F-E car is as challenging as an F1 car.
“Driving an F-E car is different. It has its challenges as it involves different technology, different regulations, limited aero dynamics compared to an F1 car, and the tyres are sleek. This weekend we will clock up to speeds of 280kph, and although the car is designed to go up to higher speeds, because it’s a street circuit, we really can’t touch more than 300kph. The acceleration from 0 to 100kph is really fast in Formula E, and I am very excited to race in this circuit.”
The Kiwi racer who won the New Zealand Grand Prix at the age of 16 will be visiting the track tomorrow and has been practising in simulators.
“I will get a chance to visit the track tomorrow and get a feel of the circuit. I have been allocated a time slot to walk the track and will try to assess the track conditions as much as I can. I can’t take a walk around the circuit before my allocated time, as I risk getting penalised by the regulators. I did do the simulation at our factory based in the UK, and I know the track layout. But getting a physical feel will be very exciting,” he said.
With temperatures rising in the city, hydration and diet are the two important factors that racers focus on ahead of the weekend and the New Zealand racer will only try local cuisine after the race.
“We landed yesterday, and guys ordered some light Chinese. I have heard a lot about the Hyderabad Biryani and other Indian food but will be only having it after the race is over as it is very spicy. I hail from New Zealand and my stomach can’t take that much spice, so I am very careful about what I have before the race. So far, the hospitality has been good, and I am looking forward to a good race,” he said.