Mahindra Racing faces a rocky start | 2022 Formula E Diriyah Rundown
The first round of the 2022 Formula E season took place at Diriyah, Saudi Arabia and Indian team Mahindra Racing could not make the best of the two races that occurred during the weekend. Both Mahindra Racing drivers Oliver Rowland and Alexander Sims failed to finish a race each and that did not allow the team to capitalise on the points on offer. The sandy 21-corner track of Diriyah proved to be challenging for the drivers, especially on the ‘dirty’ or less used parts of the track. With four points under the belt from the opening two races, let us see how the weekend unfolded for Mahindra Racing.
As the weekend started, Mahindra Racing was displaying good pace in the free practice sessions. Their package seemed to have the edge right off the bat and with Oliver clocking in the fastest time in FP2, the team seemed like a force to be reckoned with.
However, the qualifying round did not go as planned for the team and the drivers as Oliver started from P11 and Alexander Sims started from P18. This was also the first of the new qualifying structure implemented in Formula E and Oliver had to fight one on one with Nyck De Vries in the session.
6 laps into the race, Rowland came off worse in a battle with Frijns, starting with a clash at Turn 14 and ending up with the Brit’s car backwards in the wall. Oliver had to retire from the race after the crash. Frijns on the other hand, dropped to P14 and was also penalised for his part in the incident.
After the races, Oliver said, “While we scored points today, we had the potential to be better. We were very strong in free practice and our pace in the race yesterday was good. We struggled a bit more today but we know what we need to do to come back better in Mexico.”
Alexander Sims could not make up a lot of positions after starting from the back of the grid. He managed to pick up four places and ended P14. The Mercedes-EQ team took the chequered flag with Nyck De Vries in P1 and teammate Stoffel Vandoorne in P2.
With the learnings from the first race, Mahindra Racing was able to improve on their timings. This time, both the Mahindra Racing drivers were able to make it inside the top ten in the qualifying round with Sims in P9 and Rowland in P10.
Both the drivers had decent starts from the starting line and were able to manage the pressure from the drivers behind on the opening laps. Rowland and Jake Dennis were the first to take ATTACK MODE, with the latter overtaking the Mahindra on lap 5, down at Turn 18.
Disaster struck the Indian team on Lap 29 after Alexander Sims was taken out of the race due to a contact with Frijns and that caused the safety car to come out. With the Safety Car on-track beyond the 40-minute mark, no time was added and the race ended behind the Porsche Taycan, handing Mortara the win from Frijns in P2 and Lucas di Grassi in P3. Oliver finished the race in P8, grabbing the first points for Mahindra Racing this season.
At the end of the weekend, Alexander Sims said, “I’ll be honest, I struggled to get into a rhythm yesterday – the car balance was difficult in all of the sessions. We took some lessons from Oliver’s car, were able to fine tune things a little, and today went a lot smoother. I was pleased with my performance in race two but I made two small mistakes, which turned out to be race critical”
After the first round, Mahindra Racing stands in P8 in the championship table with 4 points. Oliver Rowland stands in P11 and Alexander Sims stands in P18. Round 2 of the 2022 Formula E season will be held at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico. The weekend will have only one race and it will be held on February 12. For more news and updates from the world of motorsports, stay tuned to evo India!