A day with Mahindra Racing on the 2022 Formula E season

Sirish Chandran: Are the drivers developing certain specific and unique skills for Formula E? For example, you could have chosen a driver from Formula 2 or one of the combustion engine championships, but you chose a driver from Formula E itself. Are these drivers or skill sets unique to Formula E and you might not find them in another racing series? If so, what are they?

Dilbagh Gill: Actually, I’ll skip this (question) after I start with one of these two guys (drivers). But I really think yes, there are skills that drivers pick up in Formula E that are quite unique to what they’ve done before. Because every time we had a driver from outside Formula E coming into the championship, there was a bit of unlearning for the driver. For example, the way they use the pedals in the car is very different from anywhere else in terms of overlap and things like that. And again, the “lift and coast” phenomenon they learned in Formula E is also quite unique. I think from a driving perspective, understanding the software controls, which is very important in Formula E, takes a bit of time. And I think that has also been proven. Like any driver coming from outside the championship, it takes time (for them) to succeed. On a single lap, yes a driver can come from outside the championship, maybe F2 now or an F1 driver can be on pole. But then for him to finish that run, it takes at least half a season before they kind of get to the base to start figuring out how the run is going. Because even though the race is quite short with 45 minutes plus one lap, it takes a lot of mental capacity to drive them. I don’t know if Oliver or Sims want to add anything to that because every time they start talking their salary goes up.

Oliver Rowland: Yeah, I think for me the biggest difference in Formula E is that to drive you have to deal with a lot of things in the car and the only way to really affect that is experience. I remember coming in season 5 and it was like a baptism of fire. I was trying my best to be as consistent and as fast as possible during the races, but there were so many other things to deal with and I think it’s just practice to deal with that stuff. And I think that’s why experience is kind of the key in Formula E. Some of the younger guys can come in and show they’re faster in one lap but, I think especially now, we’re all two and we have to lead a whole team of people and there are a lot of people working towards one car and one goal. I think you need the experience of what works and what hasn’t worked in order to build that structure and that team around you. I think it also takes a long time to gain experience.

Alexander Sims: Umm, I think Oliver summed it up pretty well. Yeah, Formula E is so complex. So many different aspects to getting a clean and well-executed race weekend. So when you start from zero, I remember my first year in Formula E, you just faced new situations so frequently throughout the season and you can succeed in some of them, shine sometimes. But having a good season from start to finish is quite difficult. But I think we’re in a pretty good position when it comes to rider experience levels, racecraft and all that stuff.

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