Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Oliver Rowland: “I just struggled with a bit of confidence and consistency”

Oliver Rowland claimed Mahindra Racing‘s only point at last weekend’s Berlin E-Prix double-header, after the Indian side endured a challenging weekend in the German capital.

It was evident early on that Rowland was in for a tough weekend, with the British driver having hit the wall during Free Practice 2, after suffering from what appeared to be a technical fault. His incident brought out a red flag as he had to be towed back to the pits, perhaps giving Mahindra an idea that they were in for a long weekend. Those fears were probably enhanced after Rowland qualified twenty-first at the Tempelhof Airport Circuit for Saturday’s race, a session he labelled as a “disaster”.

The thirty-year-old did incredibly during the race, though, to claim tenth, securing his first point since Hyderabad. He qualified much better on Sunday and lined-up twelfth on the grid; however, he wasn’t able to “hook everything together” during the second race and finished fourteenth. Overall it was a challenging weekend for Rowland, who admitted to having struggled for “confidence and consistency”.

“We scored a point during race one which is a positive. But again, I just struggled with a bit of confidence and consistency. FP1 and FP2 were a bit of a challenge just in terms of having some issues so it wasn’t an ideal start to the weekend. The first qualifying was a disaster but a good strategy during the race put me in a position to score points, which was a positive outcome for the first day.

“Today for the second race, in the wet conditions we hoped for a little bit more. Abt showed that the car is capable of being competitive in the rain, but we didn’t quite hook everything together. In the race I had a bad start because I was on the wet side and I was almost at the back anyway, so we decided to try again what worked in the first race, to save a bit of energy and try and push through at the end, but it was not as successful this time.”

“It’s very hard to fight with the leaders” – Lucas di Grassi

On the other side of the Mahindra garage, it was an even more difficult weekend for Lucas di Grassi, who narrowly missed out on the points in both races. Like his team-mate, the former Formula E Champion struggled in qualifying, with him having only managed twentieth on the grid on Saturday.

He did convert this into an eleventh place finish, though, suggesting that had he qualified better, points could’ve been scored. The Brazilian qualified thirteenth on Sunday but could only manage twelfth in the race, bringing to an end what was a “very difficult weekend” for him.

Following his point-less weekend in Berlin, Di Grassi’s only points this season continue to be from the season-opener in Mexico City, with the driver openly admitting that with the car currently performing how it is “it’s very hard to fight with the leaders”.

“It was a very difficult weekend for me with zero points. The way the races are going and with our efficiency levels it’s very hard to fight with the leaders so we tried the best we could and today we only missed points by one or two positions so we need to learn what we can do better for Monaco and the next races.

“There was, however, some good news for Mahindra Racing customer team Abt CUPRA Racing after taking not only a pole position with Robin Frijns, but also a front row lock out with Nico Muller starting race two alongside the sister car.

Credit: Sam Bloxham courtesy of FIA Formula E