Mahindra Racing started the new Gen3 era of Formula E this year with much promise, with a pole position and a podium in the first round in Mexico City.
However, the result proved to be a mirage as the team has since finished in the points only twice and is currently tenth out of 11 teams in the constructors’ standings.
The Indian team was behind in development for the new era and is playing catch-up. Still, its lead driver Lucas di Grassi sounded optimistic about finishing in the points this weekend ahead of the double-header race here at the Jakarta International e-Prix Circuit.
“Our target is to finish in the points. We have been on the edge of scoring points. I have finished every race and often been 11th or 12th. Sometimes because the Safety Car was against us or there were issues like reliability. So scoring points in both races will be a good target,” said di Grassi.
Regarding the tough start, the former Formula E champion explained, “We were late with the development because of the pandemic and a series of issues. So in Mexico, we took advantage by focusing on the basics and being very conservative, which worked well.”
“It was the only race where we had 41 kW of power, and since then, it has been reduced to 36 kW. So the sensitivity to efficiency became more important, and the other teams developed faster. Hopefully, we can start to catch up since the gains for the teams ahead will diminish, and we can reach that level,” added the Brazilian driver.
Elaborating on the steps taken to improve the team, di Grassi said, “Everybody is pushing, and Fred (Frederic Bertrand), the team principal, is making the changes that need to be made. So in the short term, there is a shake-up in the team with new staff coming up, which is good. It is easy to give up and say the season is over. I have to say that the number of hours the engineers are working surprises me positively, and we can see that the progression is coming.”
One such change is a change in the driver line-up, with former F1 driver Roberto Merhi taking Oliver Rowland’s place this weekend after the latter left the team. With the Spaniard announced for just this weekend, it remains to be seen if the team’s reserve driver Jehan Daruvala could debut later in the year.
The Indian driver is racing in F2 this weekend in Barcelona and won’t have scheduling conflicts for the following two Formula E events in Portland, USA and Rome. If Daruvala races for Mahindra in the next round, he will become the second Indian to race in the series after Karun Chandhok, who drove for the Indian team in the inaugural season in 2014-15.
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