Saturday, April 20, 2024

Frederic Bertrand Sets Mahindra Target to ‘Qualify in a Better Position’

Mahindra Racing Team Principal Frederic Bertrand is aware how important qualifying is this weekend at the inaugural Portland E-Prix, with one lap pace having been his side’s biggest issue in the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

It’s been a miserable season for the Indian manufacturer, who’ve only scored one point since the Hyderabad E-Prix mostly due to their poor qualifying performances. Remarkably, Mahindra haven’t progressed to the duels since the second round of the season in Diriyah, meaning they’re on a nine race streak without qualifying in the top-eight.

This has really cost the side this season, as Lucas Di Grassi hasn’t been able to progress through to the points places. He does though, often make significant progress. Di Grassi has often found himself this year finishing races seven or eight places higher than where he started, but it hasn’t been enough for points when he’s been starting on the last row of the grid.

If he can qualify in the top fifteen, then the Formula E veteran could certainly score his first points of the season since Mexico City this weekend, at the Portland International Raceway. Any hopes of a points finish on the West Coast ultimately depend on Di Grassi, given that he’s joined by Roberto Merhi once again. Merhi made his FE debut recently in Jakarta, meaning he’s still very new to the sport and the Gen3 machinery.

Bertrand recognises that if Di Grassi can qualify well, then he’ll be able to “show his improvements on energy management”, something which’ll be massively important in Portland.

“I’m looking forward to visiting another new track on the Formula E calendar. Each of the new races we have had in Season 9 have been fantastic, so I hope Portland is also another great event. For the team, we need to keep pushing to improve on where we have been this season. I am pleased to see the work going into each weekend from the team.

“The aim this weekend is for Lucas to qualify in a better position and then to keep climbing through the field during the race, like he has been doing all season. For Roberto, his aim is to close the gap to Lucas and to challenge him. The best way for him to do this is to have a clean one lap performance and then show his improvements on energy management during the race. I’m looking forward to the Portland race already!”