Pictures courtesy FIA FormulaE
Dilbagh Gill has been at the helm of the Mahindra Racing
Formula E Team since its inception. In its second season, MAHINDRA RACING goes
into battle as one of a select few manufacturers that is developing its own
all-electric powertrain. We caught up with Dilbagh before the team departs for
You’ve been very busy since the inaugural season concluded in London.
What has changed in the team since then?
The summer was a very busy
time for us as we have been developing and testing our brand new car, the
M2Electro. We have invested in resources, equipment and technology to prepare
this Mahindra spec car, which we believe is capable of competing at the front
of the grid with the other OEM’s in the championship. The majority of testing
was about maximizing reliability but we have a performance programme for the
season ahead that I believe will show the M2Electro to be highly competitive.
We have also invested in people, refining the
team infrastructure to be sustainable for a prosperous future in the Formula E
Championship. If the first season was about getting the team up and running,
preparation for season two has been about perfecting how we operate. I am
delighted to welcome Campos as service providers to the team. We have worked
very closely together over the last three months and I feel we have built a
team that is ready to push much further than last season.
is also a change to driver line-up with Nick Heidfeld joining the team
alongside Bruno Senna. What has Nick’s signing meant to Mahindra Racing?
I am thrilled that Nick has
joined the Mahindra family. I have made no secret of my aim for Mahindra to
race at the front of the pack this season and to put Mahindra technology on the
top step of the podium. From our very first discussions, Nick’s ambitions were
aligned with ours and this has given us an extra incentive to push hard over
the summer. Nick and Bruno both want to win and we want to give them the car
for the job.
Both drivers have contributed to an impressive
lap tally already and I feel that they will push each other and keep each other
honest. We have one of the most experienced driver line-ups and I know they
will step up and lead the team.
E is now an open championship. How will racing be different this season?
The added variable of
individual powertrains in the championship means that the racing will be
slightly different. It is too early to know what the difference in performance
will be between the manufacturers in race trim, as most teams focused on
reliability and efficiency in pre-season testing.
The fundamental difference in the race itself
is the power increase to 170kW. We expect to see a greater variety of strategy
from different teams which should be very exciting for fans. Based on what we
have learned in testing and our simulation studies, we are very confident in
where we are with the M2Electro. There is going to be a lot more performance
coming out of our cars.
What are your memories of the Beijing ePrix in 2014?
I think of last year’s race as
one of the proudest moments of my career to date. We had tested at Donington of
course and run some simulation races but as we all lined up on the grid, none
of us really knew who would find their stride and who would suffer on the
narrow, bumpy, temporary street circuit. We had worked hard to build the best
team, equipped with as much knowledge as possible but there were still many
unknowns and so much potential for error under race conditions.
We had mixed fortunes in the race itself.
Bruno set the lap record out there but unfortunately he didn’t finish the race,
while Karun drove a fantastic race to finish in 5th place. We left Beijing with a lot of satisfaction
and I personally have a lot of fond memories of that day. The atmosphere at the
track and how Formula E was accepted was spectacular. We were all there to
share in the inception of something very special and for that reason Beijing
will always have a special place in my heart.
have the sim (simulator) sessions and preparation gone for Beijing?
This was the first sim session
so there is a lot of data we need to validate in Beijing. In terms of
preparation and the data points which we had, we are a lot more prepared for
Beijing this year. We know a lot more and the amount of data collected this
year through our 15 days of approved testing and 6 days of pre-season testing,
gave us a lot more insight on the car, so that will really help us. We also
have two very experienced simulation engineers working with us and they have
been cracking on with this work non-stop since the end of testing.
you feeling ahead of the Beijing race?
I’m cautiously optimistic. I
believe we made the right decisions both in terms of developing the M2Electro
and the way we have prepared for the season. The team has really come together
well and both Nick and Bruno have found their stride in the new car. There will
always be some unknowns but I’m excited about the new experience of racing at
170kW, which will require teams to put much more emphasis on strategy, so the
races will become more of a thinking-person’s game, rather than just a flat out
race. I’m looking forward to unpacking the cars in Beijing and getting the