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Gill: No-Risk Race Strategy Paid Off for Newcomer Wehrlein

Mahindra boss laud’s Wehrlein’s Santiago performance despite conservative strategy…

Photo: Formula E

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.”

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Jackal

    February 3, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Very impressive performance from Wehrlein, though not surprising. He was very good in F1, but simply was not given a chance.

    • Kris G.

      February 3, 2019 at 11:13 am

      True and maybe this has to do with his temperament. Do remember when testing for Force India the team racing director said at the time that they had opted for Ocon because he was ‘easier to deal with’. Wehrlein always was a fast driver but as with anything in life you do need the right environment to show off your true potential. Looks like that Gill is aware of that and if he can provide the right support Wehrlein does need to shine, we will see a new championship contender in him.

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