It was an eventful day for the Mahindra Racing Formula E team today, in round two of the 2014/15 FIA Formula E Championship. In a race of mixed emotions, both Mahindra Drivers lost out on potential top four positions, with Indian racer Karun Chandhok crossing the line in sixth and Bruno Senna crashing out of fourth place with just a few corners remaining.
The Mahindra Racing men showed competitive pace in qualifying earlier today, with both drivers feeling they didn’t achieve their full potential. Nevertheless, Chandhok lined up in fifth place on the grid with Senna eighth. The Brazilian racer received some positive news on the grid, having been confirmed as one of three drivers awarded FanBoost, giving him two bursts of extra power during the race.
At the start, Chandhok made the most of a slow starting Daniel Abt to make his way into fourth place while Senna also made up a place passing the Abt car. Two separate incidents on the opening lap created the need for the safety car as various debris was cleared from the circuit.
At the restart both Mahindra Racing cars remained in contention with Chandhok holding onto fourth, before making his way into third place putting himself into a strong position ahead of his car change over. Unfortunately a delay in the pits lost Chandhok several seconds, putting the Indian racer back out on track in tenth place. Senna meanwhile had also swapped to his second Mahindra car, and was ninth.
Senna was keen to make progress through the field however and made up several positions due to overtakes and drive through penalties for other drivers. Using his Fan Boost, Senna put a great move on Nicholas Prost to take fourth place. Chandhok was also making progress, up to seventh place after passing Daniel Abt.
With the final lap underway Senna was following third placed man Sebastien Buemi closely and when Buemi looked to make a small mistake, Senna could smell the podium. Sizing himself up for a last minute move around the final few corners, Senna unfortunately locked the rears and made heavy impact with the barriers. Chandhok meanwhile had done well to recover to sixth place.
Reflecting on his race, Chandhok said, “Unfortunately the pit stop didn’t go too well for us. One of our regular mechanics was taken to hospital yesterday so we’re a man down so it wasn’t quite a slick as normal. If we look at where the time we lost would have put us, I think we would have been easily on the podium. I was running in third place earlier on, feeling comfortable, not taking any risks but the pace was there. I’m driving well and we have a good car so we need to make sure everything comes together in Uruguay.”
Team mate Senna said, “Of course, I’m extremely disappointed with what happened. Once again we were very quick in the car but again no points, this time it was my fault. On the first stint we had good pace, but there was some aggressive moves; Montagny hit me two or three times. The thing about having no engine noise is that you can hear the cars with locked wheels coming! At the end I was running fourth and was a bit too thirsty for third place; I saw Buemi make a mistake and I thought I could make a move on him, but I got on the marbles and it was game over. We have another race in three weeks’ time so we’ll aim to get the positions we deserve and know we are capable of.”
Team Principal Dilbagh Gill added, “Again, it’s been a very eventful Formula E weekend with many ups and downs. As in Beijing we showed very good pace, we clearly have a handle on the technical side but it didn’t quite come together this weekend in terms of the podium results we deserved. There are positives to take away; strong pace again and the fantastic support of the fans who supported Bruno again through Fan Boost, for which we are very thankful. We now head to Uruguay confident of better results.”
The Mahindra Racing Formula E team will be back in action in three week’s time for round three of the season at the Punta Del Este, Uruguay.