Mahindra Formula E team interview
We had the pleasure of asking Mahindra some questions about the future of Formula E
Recently, we had the privilege to get in in touch with the Mahindra Formula E team. With Formula E gaining traction everyday it seemed fitting to discuss the future of the sport. These questions have been answered by Dilbagh Gill; the Mahindra team principle.
With more and more manufacturers joining the series do you think performance gaps will be increased?
“The current Formula E field is rather close and competitive and we've seen all teams grow over the last 3 years. While seasons 5 and 6 will see some big names entering in the form of 'works' teams (i.e. BMW and later Mercedes and Porsche), the entire current field is not slowing down in terms of development of their tech for the upcoming seasons. So instead, we see performance gaps reducing as all of us(the teams) are understanding optimal harnessing and usage of power in this equal power championship. Efficiency is the game, and most teams are already hitting over 90% across the power-train compared to the best F1 engines that are at about 50%. Thus, no team can be discounted in terms of their technical progress and hence a quick car, but we will have to wait and see what it's like when finally out on track”
Will the improvement of charging technology bring 'recharging' into the series during pit stops? Its a big aspect missing in Formula 1 so this could add some excitement.
“Most importantly, the message at this time is the range and power of the car. The whole point of the series is to improve electrical transportation technology, and we are moving to a large battery without 'refueling’/’recharging’/’car swap' stops. There will of course be other strategic calls and plays( other than pit stops) to keep the races exciting. The single car+battery per driver format will have its own set of challenges and situations to be dealt with from a strategic standpoint which will bring its own flair to each race.”
What’s it like being involved with such a new series like Formula E? Is there a sense of pride that you are apart of the future?
“Mahindra's commitment to sustainability, growth and road safety has always been the underlying theme for our presence in this series and it was for that very reason that we were a founding team for the Formula E series. We (Mahindra Racing), are essentially a technology company, and we race to accelerate our innovation. As the world goes increasingly electric, we want to be at the forefront of these technology developments. Therefore, we're giving it our best and testing our product in what is arguably the harshest of racing environments while pitted against the world's best.”
“We take pride in being deeply involved, interested, and contributory to the evolution of the series in terms of the purpose and outcome, and by extension the whole idea of 'Race to Road'. . . More importantly, humble about the fact that we are able to stand as equals among our peers and be seen as a solid compatriot in the movement.”
Roborace has been seen before Formula E races so is that another option for support series during a race weekend in the future?
“Race weekends (Formula 1, Blancplain, Wec) etc have always been characterized literally by racing, across various series, happening over a weekend. Electric car racing, is fairly new, thus, alongside Jaguar's commitment of the I-Pace as a supporting series, the Roborace will also add to the excitement and spectacle of a race weekend.”
Is there much interest by teams to do street events or demonstrations? Formula E has been great for fan interaction so this can continue that.
“Teams are always interested in street events or demos. Often, Formula E isn't always considered a serious racing sport(as opposed to F1, WEC, Rally, GT). However, the implications of 'Race to Road' right now as an immediate fallout of the technical development by the teams are a lot more contextual in terms of the need of the hour and the future. Therefore, projecting the two sides of Formula E, i.e., the actual sport/motorsport part of it, as well as the commitment towards electric road car technology development, to the people in close quarters and not just race fans, is very important.”
“The use of city circuits, electric cars, and only using city streets for a day, has also been about bringing the tech and the sport closer to the people, without disrupting them too much. In light of the above, well organised, minimum disruption, inclusive street demos are great, and give the teams more of a chance to improve and indulge in a lot more fan interaction.”