Mahindra Racing team principal Dilbagh Gill has admitted that a no-risk race strategy for Pascal Wehrlein was devised the night before scoring a second-place finish in the Santiago E-Prix.
The Chilean round was effectively Wehrlein’s first full ABB FIA Formula E Championship race after he was taken out at the first corner in Marrakesh.
He was signed by Mahindra in September but contractual issues deferred his debut until the second race in Marrakesh, with Felix Rosenqvist drafted in for the season-opener at Ad Diriyah.
“I took him out to dinner [on Friday night] and I said to him ‘today is complete, not compete,’ Gill told e-racing365.
“He ended up doing both really, so he gained a lot of experience and some big points so we are very happy.”
“We were quite conservative on the strategy in the race and I got on the radio and said: ‘Let’s stick with second’.
“We were close to the limit with battery but we knew that another half a lap of pressure could really get us a win, so it was really tough!”
Gill also said that the speed at which Wehrlein has adapted to Formula E has come as a pleasant surprise.
“We knew that we would get some decent results from him but we weren’t sure he would be as phenomenal this quickly,” Gill told e-racing365.
“He was the fastest in group qualifying and he finished second in what was his first real race. That is very accomplished indeed.”
Wehrlein Can “Bully” Gen 2 Car
Gill says that Wehrlein’s “no fear” driving and aggressive style will pay dividends in Formula E despite the conservative approach taken in the Santiago E-Prix.
Wehrlein wowed onlookers in Free Practice 1 at Santiago with his assertive driving on the treacherously dusty track surface.
“I see Pascal a little bit in the Felix mould too because I think you need to rag the car around a bit and he can really rag it.
“He’s not afraid to bully the car which as we have seen with guys like [Jean-Eric] Vergne and [Sam] Bird you need to do a bit.”