Ahead of the first pre-season testing for the 2021-22 season of Formula E, the electric single-seater championship that starts next week in Valencia, Indian team Mahindra Racing is optimistic of a good run after a few years of struggle.
Mahindra Racing has been part of the series since the first year in 2014-15 and this will be the final season for the Gen2 car before the Gen3 car is introduced next year.
The team showed good progress for the first few years finishing as high as third and fourth in the third and fourth seasons respectively. Since then it has slipped to ninth over the last two years.
Dilbagh Gill, Team Principal of Mahindra Racing, though feels optimistic about his side’s chances this year.
Gill spoke to The Hindu ahead of the launch of Formule E Unplugged, a documentary series about the last season, similar to F1’s ‘Drive to Survive’ where there will be an episode centring around the Mahindra team.
“I don’t want to say a number like second or third but I would say we will be back in the top half of the championship. We are in the bottom half right now, we’ll come back to the top half,” said Gill on his targets for this year.
Explaining what has held the team back, Gill said, “Our weakness essentially has been largely around tyre management and a bit of a race strategy.”
“In qualifying, we have always been one of the best teams, we can get the best single lap pace out of a car. But in race pace is where we are (lacking). We have been good at preparing for the sprint but not for the marathon. For the race, there is a bit more strategy, you push for a bit, you hold back and we are tuning ourselves towards nailing race pace,” he added.
No Indian driver
The team in its inaugural year had Karun Chandhok, only the second Indian to race in Formula One, as one of its drivers but since then has not had an Indian behind the wheel.
Vacuum of talent
When asked about that, Gill said, “We haven’t had the resources even though we had the intention.
“There has been a vacuum of talent but some really good drivers like Arjun (Maini) and Jehan (Daruvala) are coming up even though they are largely F1-focused so far.”
“We have had some conversations and, I would say I think at some point in time, I don’t want to jump the gun, but there would be some Indian talent joining the team,” he added.