Mahindra Racing returned to the podium in style as Alexander Sims scored second in the Rome E-Prix, marking the team’s first podium powered by new Powertrain partner ZF. Alex Lynn also opened his points account with a solid performance in Saturday’s incident-packed race.
Dilbagh Gill, Team Principal & CEO, Mahindra Racing, and winner Alexander Sims share their thoughts after the victory, in an exclusive interview with Echo:
Season 7 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship continued this weekend, with rounds three and four held on the streets of Rome. Having raced in the city twice before, Formula E raced on a newly configured circuit, which provided all the usual unpredictable and highly competitive racing that the all-electric street racing series is famed for.
After a disrupted start to the day on Saturday, with red flags during both practice sessions, Sims and Lynn hit the track to qualify on the newly reconfigured circuit, the longest on the Season 7 calendar. Lynn secured a seventh row start from the 13th, with Sims in the row behind, beginning from the 15th. In a race that both started and ended under the safety car and saw a third of the field retire, Lynn was able to avoid incidents that peppered the 45 minutes and open his account for the season, collecting four points for taking the chequered flag in a solid eighth place. He also finished Saturday’s E-Prix as the top regen driver, demonstrating the most efficient use of energy. Unfortunately, Sims was forced into retirement on lap two through no fault of his own when he was hit from behind, causing damage to the M7Electro that meant he could not continue.
Sunday’s action saw drivers compete on a wet track for qualifying, which made lap times around 20 seconds slower than on Saturday and added another layer of complexity to an already challenging circuit. After both drivers had completed group qualifying, Sims advanced to Super Pole, setting the sixth-fastest time, while Lynn secured an eighth-row start. After gaining positions up to third by lap seven, Sims then took advantage of a restart following a full course yellow on lap nine to pip Pascal Wehrlein to second, and he held that position solidly until the chequered flag, securing his first podium for the team he joined ahead of Season 7. Lynn finished ninth on the road in the race but was penalised for being unable to activate his final Attack Mode due to a late safety car, and was classified 17th.
Jean-Eric Vergne won Saturday’s E-Prix for DS Techeetah, with Stoffel Vandoorne taking victory on Sunday. Rounds five and six of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship are set to take place in Valencia, Spain, on April 24 and 25.
About the win, Dilbagh Gill, Team Principal, said: “I am thrilled to return to the podium – it had been too long coming since our last visit, but we don’t plan on it being so long until the next one! We’re delighted that our new car, the M7Electro, is proving competitive on track with our new ZF powertrain. We can already see that the incredibly hard work we have done on where needed to improve from the last couple of seasons is paying dividends. I am so happy for Alexander Sims, and it’s a wonderful start to the season for him in only his second race weekend for us. I’m sorry that Alex Lynn didn’t have the race we had planned today; we should have had them both up the sharp end of the grid, so that’s something we’ll be working on ahead of Valencia which is in just two weeks time – we have the taste of champagne now and I want the whole team to be drinking it!”
A visibly thrilled Alexander Sims said: “I’m pretty happy with the result today! The weekend was really split into two halves; yesterday it was pretty difficult in general, it felt like we could have got something from the race but, by being taken out on lap one, it was over before it had begun. But today, we did good work in practice, the car was brilliant in group qualifying, and we know the car this season is strong in the race and very efficient, and we were able to put that to good use. We had genuinely good pace, there was an exciting overtake on Pascal [Wehrlein] on the full course yellow restart and, after that, it was just ticking the laps down. It’s nice for the whole of Mahindra and ZF, and I’m happy to get my first podium with the team.”
Meanwhile, Alex Lynn said: “It’s been a bit of a weekend of what could have been. We scored good points from a medium qualifying on Saturday. On Sunday, qualifying again wasn’t where we wanted it to be, but we could come back through to finish P9 on the road. Unfortunately, we got an end of race penalty for not taking all of our attack modes when a last-minute safety car scuppered our chances. We’ve got good performance in terms of race pace, so for Valencia we need to understand our qualifying pace a bit more. As Alexander showed today, and as we showed collectively in Riyadh, when we qualify up the front it stays there very nicely. Overall, a big well done to Sims for his podium, I think it’s great for the whole team, and it’s going to push us on to Valencia.”
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