Team Principal Dilbagh Gill has been at the helm of the Mahindra Racing FIA Formula E Team for over a year and total of six thrilling races all around the world. With the season in full swing and the Championship moving to Europe for the next few rounds we catch up with Gill as he reflects on how the season has so far panned out.
How have you found the reaction from members of the public in regards to Mahindra’s Formula E participation?
The feedback that I have received has been extremely positive from members of the public all over the world. We’re fortunate in this day and age to get instant feedback on social media platforms and while this does lend itself to negative opinions as well as positive, I’ve been pleased to see that the majority of people are really enjoying the championship and proud to see the Mahindra name travelling the world with the FIA Formula E Championship.
Have the races met your expectations?
That’s a difficult question to answer because on the one hand we always knew that the events would be hard work and that winning a race straight away would be a challenge. We anticipated that a huge amount of work would be required and that a massive team effort was on the books. We’re always striving to be higher up the grid and challenging for wins and podiums so in that respect it would have been nicer to have been fighting for these in the first half of the season. In terms of the racing action itself? I don’t think that there has been one race which has let the fans down – it’s been a thrilling season and it’s only going to continue to get better.
What has been the biggest challenge to overcome?
It’s the first season of the championship and as expected there have been a few challenges to overcome both on and off track. On track, I think that as a team it’s always difficult to determine how the track is going to look and feel when we’re preparing for a weekend – for example there have been times on the simulator when the track hasn’t quite matched what we found on event or maybe even some of the corners and chicanes change after the championship’s careful consideration. But I think this is something that all the teams face and we all get on with it and tackle the weekend in a very positive light. We haven’t yet had the result we wanted however we’re always pushing and we know it’s going to be there very soon.
In terms of the second season, how is progress coming along?
It’s coming along really well – we’ve made a lot of good progress developing the car and we’re getting quite excited to see how everything is going to come together. We had a lot of great meetings with the championship and also within our team as we make headway for the next season. It’s a very exciting time for all of us here at Mahindra Racing and we can’t wait to see how the season pans out.
Mahindra have been making EV’s for over 15 years which is why we entered in such an innovative championship in the first place – this collaboration with the engineers in India is also very useful and beneficial as we prepare for the second year.
Mahindra have two very experienced and talented drivers in Chandhok and Senna, how have you found working with them?
Both Karun and Bruno have been brilliant to work with from day one. At Donington they were very constructive with their feedback as we got ready for the start of the season and as we have made our way through the first half of the inaugural year they have continued to be great to work with and a constant source of knowledge. It’s also been good for the team that they work so well together as that allows them to feedback data to one another and work in a stronger sense with their engineers. The comradery between them is strong and I think that compliments the team very well when working together – especially because it makes the atmosphere within the garage an even nicer working environment.
Mahindra Racing have recently announced two new, and very important, partnerships with Avis and the IHG Rewards Club, tell us more about this tie up?
Firstly we’re very proud to have a partnership with two such prestigious companies and it’s great to see their brand displayed on our cars. It’s also amzing to think that such companies are as excited to be part of a championship like Formula E as we are; I think that is definitely growing and only going to get bigger and more popular. Already this season we have enjoyed stays in IHG Hotels and used Avis hire cars – this is definitely a relationship we hope to continue in the future.
The knowledge of the public and the fan base seems to be growing at a fast pace – do you feel as though Formula E is promising on its original hopes of being open, green and innovative?
Yes, I think the championship is delivering on so many different levels. Not only is it a green alternative racing but it’s also proving to be a thrilling racing series with talented drivers and strong teams. Alejandro [Agag] runs a very tight ship and it is thanks to him that we are bringing such an innovative form of racing to members of the public in some amazing city centres. I think it’s still early days and we have a lot more that we can deliver on but so far the reaction from fans has been incredible and I think we’re well on course to be the pioneers of the next generation of racing.
The FIA Formula E Championship moves to Europe for the next round of the season with an incredible race around the streets of Monaco to look forward to next.
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