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GILL: Still on Top in Extraordinary Season Five

Team principal Dilbagh Gill reviews Mahindra Racing’s Rome E-Prix last Saturday….

Photo: Mahindra/Spacesuit Media

While Rome didn’t bring the amount of points that we ideally would have liked, it again showed some very positive signs for us as we enter the second phase of Season Five.

We have been working very hard back at our base in the UK and also out on the test track in Spain to perfect and improve aspects of the M5Electro to really try to capitalise on the strong start we made to this season.

Rome is a tough place to race at and a massive challenge for the drivers and engineers. But it is one that Mahindra Racing really gets stuck into because we are here to be challenged.

The level of competition in Formula E has grown and grown since we started, and this season it is incredibly tight.

To have seven different pole sitters and seven different race winners from distinct manufacturers is pretty unprecedented in my mind.

I think the fans are really tuning in to just how remarkably close everything is this season.

In Rome, I felt we resolved some of the issues that we had endured in Hong Kong and Sanya, so we came away with a fair amount of positives to look at.

Photo: Mahindra/Spacesuit Media

The practice sessions and qualifying were not great for us last Saturday and to a large extent this put us on the back foot a fair bit.

This is by no means an excuse, but the plain facts were that Jerome was in Group 1 and Pascal in Group 2, which were not favourable for the overall grid make-up at this particular event.

With the greasy conditions for the race the drivers were really tested and I am glad to say that we had two really strong races.

Jerome cut his way through from the rear of the grid and like in Mexico he maximised everything to get some ultra-useful points in the bag and re-take the lead in the championship.

He was really efficient and showed some great race tactics to claim eighth place, gaining a massive 11 positions from where he started.

I felt we might have been able to do slightly better than what we ultimately ended up with though. One of the reasons was because there was no information about Antonio Felix da Costa’s penalty which was given for a dummy grid infraction.

He received a five-second penalty and, if we had known about that, we would have informed Pascal and if we had been just slightly further up the road and been 0.08s better off, then we would have got ninth place in the final classification.

But we managed to accrue five points and that was good enough to still be fighting at the top of the table and for Jerome to regain the lead of the driver’s title battle.

It is remarkable that we have just 14 points covering the top four positions in the teams championship and that 13 covers the top nine in the drivers. I think the FIA and Formula E should be congratulated for making this such a thrilling spectacle in the first year of the current rules set.

Photo: Mahindra/Spacesuit Media

Off track there was much going on for Mahindra Racing too as we have lots of partners, fans and friends in Italy.

Chief among these of course is Automobili Pininfarina, the iconic design house with which we have such a close affinity and working relationship.

The mighty Automobili Pininfarina Battista electric Hypercar was on display in the excellent E-Village which saw so many interesting displays. Although I am a bit biased, the Battista looked magnificent and had a massive wow factor among the large crowds which were there.

Now, we head to Paris and a totally different track which has tight corners and not a lot of opportunity for overtaking.

Qualifying will be as crucial as ever and we have some results to get from there because the City of Light has not been that kind to us over the years.

As you will all expect, we will be going all out to make sure we are still at the top of the standings by the close of April and we look forward to reporting in to e-racing365 telling you all about our efforts on and off the track.

Dilbagh Gill

Photo: Mahindra/Spacesuit Media

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

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