Mahindra Racing has secured an historic maiden victory in the FIA Formula E Championship today with a double podium in the first of this weekend’s two Berlin ePrix races.
Rising Swedish star Felix Rosenqvist scored his own maiden win with a mature drive at the temporary Tempelhof Circuit, finishing on the top step of the podium with his German teammate Nick Heidfeld in third.
For Mahindra Racing, its improving results position the team as a genuine contender in the highly competitive all-electric championship with its M3Electro racecar.
The two drivers began the race from third and fourth positions respectively after an intense Super Pole qualifying shootout. It setup a thrilling race with both Rosenqvist and Heidfeld vying for the win from the outset. By the exit of the first corner, they had taken second and third, holding those positions until just before the optimum pit stop window.
Rosenqvist overtook competitor Lucas di Grassi for the lead at the exact halfway point of the race on lap 22. It was a lead he would not lose, despite di Grassi deploying his extra 100kJ of energy awarded by public vote in the series’ unique FanBoost initiative.
Heidfeld, wearing a special Berlin ePrix Sparco race suit created by #DrivenByDesign competition winner Tejas Manek, was able to put pressure on di Grassi in the later stages of the race. Despite not being able to overtake, third place is his third consecutive podium after Monaco and Paris last month.
Today’s double podium moves Mahindra Racing to within four points of second-placed ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport in the teams’ standings with just five races remaining, including tomorrow’s second Berlin ePrix.
Felix Rosenqvist said, “It’s finally the day where we won the race! It feels like it’s been a long time coming even though it’s only my first season in Formula E. It’s been just around the whole year! Today everything just came together. I made a small error in qualifying which put us into P3 on the grid, otherwise I think it was pretty much a perfect day! The cars were fantastic. As a team, we came into this race a lot calmer. At this point in the season we’re settling down into a rhythm with our procedures and this week we just felt like winners already – I think that made a big difference. It didn’t feel strange to be up there on the top step, we’ve had three consecutive podiums and it’s so rewarding for all the guys that have worked so hard. Everyone says that, but I see the hours that they put in everyday and so this one goes to them!”
Nick Heidfeld said, “I am over the moon for the team and relatively happy for myself with another podium! I had another great start and gained a position going into turn one. In the second stint I had a lot better pace and could catch Lucas [di Grassi] but not quite overtake, so there are some mixed emotions. It is a big reward for the team. Also, I cannot complain about being on the podium! To top it all off we have another race tomorrow and it’s great to go into it knowing we have a good car. We need to keep calm and keep working hard, and hopefully get more of these results.
Dilbagh Gill, Team Principal, Mahindra Racing Formula E Team said, “This is a historic milestone for Indian motorsport on open four wheels. An emotional day and so rewarding for our entire team, partners, fans and colleagues back in India and around the world. We are ready to do it all again tomorrow for the second race in this double-header weekend in Berlin!”
Race day déjà vu
Despite all the good news, there’s not much time to celebrate! Tomorrow the entire race day happens again, with another full points spread up for grabs. The only change, apart from the date, will be in the race distance. Round eight of the FIA Formula E Championship will feature a 46-lap race at the Tempelhof Airport location with two practice sessions, qualifying and the race starting from 8am.