The partnership between the Mahindra Formula E team and the Pininfarina design company will have practical benefits despite aerodynamic R&D restrictions in the all-electric championship according to Nick Heidfeld.
The iconic Italian design house was bought by Mahindra in 2016 and a formalisation of a link-up with the current championship leading team was announced earlier this week.
The deal will see the Mahindra team utilize Pininfarina’s design and technology capabilities to maximize the performance of its M5Electro Season Five challenger.
This will include use of the famous Pininfarina wind tunnel which is renowned in industry circles for being the first of its kind.
The full-scale, rolling road facility was the first commercially available wind tunnel to be commissioned in the Italian automotive industry and is known for its precise correlation of data.
However, the technical roadmap in Formula E dictates that aerodynamics is not an open area for development under the strictly controlled technical roadmap. Despite this, Mahindra driver Nick Heidfeld has told e-racing365 that the use of the tunnel will still be beneficial for the team.
“We have already used the wind tunnel, which was very interesting because it is a unique facility, different to others I have seen and been in,” said Heidfeld.
“We are able to validate data and do some other things. Of course we do some straight-line test work sometimes so in these senses there is a practical element and benefit to what we will do with Pininfarina here.”
Pininfarina’s CEO, Silvio Pietro Angori, also believes that the added scope for technical development that Mahindra now has at its disposal will bring more success for the Indian manufacturer.
“From our point of view we are accompanying Mahindra with our strengths in to Formula E and in doing this we prefer to be partners rather than the driving force which is what Mahindra are,” said Pietro Angori.
“We can bring lots of experience in lots of areas to Mahindra and of course vice-versa too. We are really a consultant and I think that our facilities allied to those that Mahindra have invested in will be a good benefit for the common cause we have, which is of course to win more races.”
Mahindra has recently expanded in to a new technical base in Banbury, UK, where a full in-the-loop simulator is currently being installed and is scheduled to be operational in March.