19 February 2017, Buenos Aires. Mahindra Racing had a disappointing race in Buenos Aires today saved only by winning the fastest lap of the race and one FIA Formula E Championship point.
The team’s third annual visit to Argentina didn’t go according to plan and the final classification doesn’t tell the whole story.
Both Mahindra Racing drivers, Felix Rosenqvist and Nick Heidfeld, showed the pace to finish towards the front of the field at the end of 37 laps in the Argentine sun. However, a middling qualifying saw the two drivers start from P8 and P12 respectively.
Not to be deterred by any means, Rosenqvist and Heidfeld picked their way through the field on target to a strong double-points finish with a well-managed energy strategy in their M3Electro racecars – despite high ambient temperatures. But it was the car change pit stop that proved to be problematic each for different reasons.
Rosenqvist’s race was lost when a Battery Management System (BMS) issue prevented him from leaving the pit box for around one minute, while Heidfeld was forced to serve a drive-through penalty when the FIA timing clocked his minimum pit time as four tenths of a second shorter than the required safety minimum.
There was little left to do but go for the fastest lap of the race, which Rosenqvist then achieved on lap 31. It was also a record for the Puerto Madero circuit and cannot be changed in the history books, as the park will undergo redevelopment for a new highway.
Mahindra Racing lies third in the Teams’ Championship and will get its next shot at Formula E honours in six weeks at the Mexico City ePrix on 1 April.
Dilbagh Gill, Team Principal, Mahindra Racing Formula E Team said, “We are disappointed with the result because it is not reflective of what Mahindra can do. Free practice was going quite well, we demonstrated the pace of the car but qualifying is becoming really important in this championship. Overall, Felix drove a fantastic race and picked up the fastest lap again showing the M3Electro is where it needs to be. Nick’s energy strategy was also really good and he was on track for a strong top seven finish after starting in P12 if it wasn’t for the minimum pit timing issue. We now must look towards the next race in Mexico City and continue to aim for the top step of the podium.”
Felix Rosenqvist said, “The race ended in a little bit of frustration for us here in Buenos Aires. It went really well in the first stint on a very long strategy working to save a lot of energy but we were still really strong lap time-wise. Aiming for the top five, we had planned to do a really quick second stint but in the pit stop we had a BMS error that meant that the car wouldn’t start. The only thing we could do was push for the fastest lap of the race. It’s one point to take away, but still very frustrating to lose a stronger finish. It was a weekend where we were really strong again in every session. We have to learn it the hard way, but the next time we want to be on the podium again and there should be every possibility to do that.”
Nick Heidfeld said, “It was a disappointing day finishing outside the points. We were strong in free practice but qualifying was not optimal, however we still had a chance to score some good points during the race. I went to lap 20 in the first stint, one lap longer than most of the field, with more energy in the second car I caught them quickly and overtook a lot of them. Unfortunately we undershot the minimum pit time by a really small margin but the rule is there for safety reasons. After the drive through penalty, I came out in P15 and almost caught up to the cars in front but it was not possible to improve on the position.”