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GILL: Busy But Tough Weekend in Berlin

Mahindra team principal Dilbagh Gill recalls Saturday’s Berlin E-Prix at Tempelhof Airport….

Photo: Mahindra Racing/Spacesuit Media

The Berlin race is such a big event on the ABB FIA Formula E Championship calendar and this year we saw it move to another level.

We had the addition of the Nico Rosberg-fronted and developed Greentech Festival which created a really good buzz in the paddock and around the whole Tempelhof site; we were greeted by a huge crowd that was very engaged.

Off the track Berlin was very fruitful and we met with a tremendous amount of fans and industry partners.

I think for the future health and progression of the series, it is really positive to have these types of events in conjunction with races.

Photo: Mahindra Racing/Spacesuit Media

As we know the Formula E action was slightly earlier than usual this season, with practice on Friday afternoon and the qualifying and Super Pole sessions on Saturday morning, with the race following at lunchtime on Saturday.

This was a little disorientating for everyone as we have become so used to the consistent structure of the usual race format and everything happening on a single day.

The reason was that the DFB German Cup Final was on and I was lucky enough to get an invite to watch the game thanks to our rival and friend Thomas Biermeier over at Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler.

For the record, Bayern Munich won quite easily, taking a clear 3-0 win against RB Leipzig.

Back to the racing!

Berlin has been very good for us in the past when our old friend Mr Felix Rosenqvist took a breakthrough victory and we also got two further podium positions at the double header there in 2017.

Photo: Mahindra Racing/Spacesuit Media

Tempelhof wasn’t so kind to us this season however. The weekend netted us a single point with Pascal claiming tenth position which we have to be very blunt about, it was not what we were chasing obviously.

In qualifying we had a respectable showing and both the Mahindra Racing M5Electro’s were placed in the top ten with Jerome just ahead of Pascal in ninth position.

Sadly for Jerome he lost an aspect of his braking capability related to the brake-by-wire system before the start which completely compromised his race.

This was a huge shame for him and ensured that points were completely out of the question. Frustrating.

For Pascal we were chasing the setup throughout the weekend and we struggled with overheating rear tires.

The Tempelhof circuit is super tricky but he had the pace. Unfortunately, he was not able to show it because the tires were just not responding as we would have liked.

This was obviously a big shame for us but at least we grabbed a point. Pascal raced hard and had good battles with the likes of Sam Bird and Edoardo Mortara but we understood his disappointment at not being in contention right at the front at his home race.

Photo: Mahindra Racing/Spacesuit Media

What this means now is that we have slipped to fifth position in the teams’ standings. Honestly, I think that it is between the top two teams [DS Techeetah and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler] for the championship title.

For us we must chase down third position which is what are sights are now firmly on. The season started very well for us and then, for various reasons, we have had a few races where points have been harder to come by.

But at Mahindra Racing we always bounce back strongly, we never give up and we are determined to finish the European season off in style.

We go to a new venue in Switzerland next month with the first ever Bern E-Prix. The track looks amazing and we are looking ahead to make sure we are back among the front runners.

It is remarkable how quickly the season has gone and of course now we are right in the middle of developments for season six.

In Formula E nothing stands still. That’s the way we like it and that’s why at Mahindra Racing we have an iron will to make sure we are always looking at ways to improve.

Dilbagh Gill

Dilbagh Gill is the CEO and team principal of Mahindra Racing, which competes in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

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