Hyderabad: Mahindra Racing is the only Indian team competing in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. The team has been ever-present, having been featuring in the Championship since the inaugural edition in 2014 as one of the 10 founding teams. From the onset of the 2015-16 (second season) season of the Formula E World Championship, the team has been designing and developing its own powertrain.
Over 9 seasons of the Championship, the team has employed some of the most prominent drivers in motorsports viz. Bruno Senna, Karun Chandhok, Nick Heidfeld, Pascal Wehrlein, Felix Rosenqvist, and most recently - Formula E's most established and successful driver Lucas di Grassi.
Advantage - Mahindra Racing?
With the teams gearing up for the maiden Hyderabad ePrix this week, Mahindra Racing would be looking to cash in on the "home advantage" and leave India with a bagful of points.
Drivers across motorsports agree that a push from the fans has a strong positive effect on the minds of the drivers. The legendary F1 driver Nigel Mansell once famously quoted that "the presence of vast numbers of fans at his home race was worth an extra few tenths of a second per lap."
Early signs show a positive impact as Mahindra Racing's Lucas di Grassi set an impressive lap time of 1:15.647 to finish fifth for the local outfit in Free Practice 1. Safe to say that the team was in the garage all night long, going through the data, hoping to fine-tune their car and exploit the home advantage to the fullest.
Speaking to The Bridge about the advantages of racing at home, Mr. Frédéric Bertrand - CEO & Team Principal of Mahindra Racing said:
"We are so excited to be racing on home soil, in front of our fantastic and loyal Indian fans. The Mahindra team is going into this event feeling really positive and we can't wait to put on a show for the crowd. Their cheers will definitely push us forward and hopefully give us that extra boots to get a good result."
2023 Driver Pair
Former Formula E World Champion Lucas di Grassi joined Mahindra Racing ahead of the ninth season. The veteran replaced Alexander Sims who drove for the team for a couple of seasons between 2020 and 2022.
Di Grassi is considered a veteran having won the first ever Formula E race, securing a record 40 podiums, and winning 13 races. His last podium finish came at the 2023 Mexico City ePrix where he finished third.
Lucas di Grassi has also featured in the pinnacle of motor racing - Formula One, where he debuted for Virgin Racing in 2010. He later went on to become Pirelli's Test driver in the Championship.
Alongside di Grassi, Mahindra Racing has secured the services of British driver Oliver Rowland for the 2022-23 Formula E season. This will be Rowland's second season having driven for the team during the 2021-22 season. He has been a regular in Formula E having represented Nissan e.dams since the beginning of the 2018-19 Formula E season.
During his Formula E career, Oliver Rowland has featured in 58 races, having won 1 race and securing 6 podiums.
With the Indian crowd behind their backs, Mahindra Racing's ace drivers will be hoping to stand on the top step of the podium in the upcoming 2023 Hyderabad ePrix.
The Ups & Downs of Mahindra Racing
Mahindra Racing has been a constant force in Formula E since its inception in 2014. As of the 2023 Diriyah ePrix, the team has featured in 102 races making the 2023 Hyderabad ePrix the team's 103rd race entry at ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
Over the seasons and races, the team has accumulated a total of 886 championship points with an impressive record of 5 race wins and 24 podiums. The drivers have proved their mettle in qualifying over the years, having set the fastest lap and securing pole position 10 times!
Mahindra Racing truly came to the forefront and in limelight during the 2016-17 season when Swedish driver Felix Rosenqvist secured the team's first win in the Championship, finishing first in the 2017 Berlin ePrix finishing ahead of teammate Nick Heidfeld who finished the race in the third place, securing a 1-3 finish for Mahindra Racing.
The 2016-17 season for Mahindra Racing also proved to be the most successful yet, as the team amassed 215 Championship points with 10 podiums, 1 race win, and 3 pole positions - finishing 3rd in the Constructor Standings. Since then, the team has struggled to reach the same heights.
The team's last race win came during the 2020-21 Formula E season when Alex Lynn clinched his first Formula E victory as he finished first in race two of the 2021 London ePrix. His teammate, Alexander Sims finished in a lowly 16th the same evening.
Earlier this year, Mahindra had started the season on a very strong note when Brazilian veteran driver Lucas di Grassi finished third, starting from the pole position, at the 2023 Mexico City ePrix.
The Indian team will be banking on the home crowd during the upcoming Hyderabad ePrix as it eyes the coveted 1-2, to jumpstart their 2023 Formula E season.