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Former FE skeptic Juncadella convinced by drivers

Testing tomorrow for Mahindra, while Nick Heidfeld competes in Petit Le Mans, Daniel Juncadella has said his initially skeptical opinion of Formula E was changed by his friends in the championship.

The Blancpain GT driver competes with several drivers currently in Formula E – and their enthusiasm for the series, for the way it operates and the ambience of the championship made him want to be part of it.

Asked what he felt about testing tomorrow, Dani said “I’ve been following Formula E for actually a few seasons – I was actually one of the skeptical ones a few years ago but luckily I never had bad words for the championship, that would mean I wouldn’t be here.

“I’m actually really looking forward to this championship – any chance like this one of testing the car is great, in view of the future, you never know. I would really enjoy driving here and having a chance to test with Mahindra, who’ve been a successful team in the past seasons, I think it’s a great first step.”

Juncadella is Spanish, which brought him a link to Mahindra partner Campos but he credited his fellow drivers for bringing him into the series for this test-

“What changed my mind was not especially the racing or the cars or whatever, it was more the drivers’ opinion, the actual drivers’ opinion. I’m really good friends with Felix, with Antonio, with Robin, with Daniel Abt and Alex Lynn also so talking to them and seeing that they were enjoying the weekends a lot, enjoying the events, enjoying the Formula E ambience made me realise that this championship is really cool and in the end that’s what this is all about. I’m not doing this racing for the money, for the wins – ok obviously you’re a competitive guy, you want to win – but I enjoy driving and having fun and that’s what life’s about. That made me realise that maybe it’s the place to go.”

“Ok, in my case Mahindra is run by a Spanish team – Campos – I know these people very well but having Felix here is also very helpful, he made his little move for me testing here and that’s something great.”

Juncadella said that Formula E appealed as an open, collaborative championship, with strong bonds between the drivers and close working within teams, unlike Formula 1-

“This is the kind of championship that with all the other drivers you are big rivals but you can also be friends because the races are run in one day and in the end it’s not a closed championship or such a kind if championship like F1 where you are just living your own life and working on your own things and forgetting about the others. Here, with so little running and so little testing and so on, particularly with your teammate you need to have the best combination possible and in the end, being such short weekends you get to spend time with each other and with the other guys in the championship and that, I think, makes it a bit more human.”

Juncadella has no formal role with Mahindra at present, although the team do plan to announce a third driver, he is only contracted to complete the third day of pre-season testing.

Speaking to us this morning, Felix “I think it was a little bit of both, I mean he’s Spanish and parts of our team are Spanish so there was a national connection and when the talks started obviously they asked me what I think about him and I’ve always been very close with him. I think he suits this environment very well so I really hope he has a good test tomorrow, that he can prove he can have a future here at some point because I think that would be good for him and if it’s with this team or another team, I don’t know. I’m happy he gets the chance and I think it was the right decision for the team.”

The bromance will continue tomorrow on track, with Rosenqvist and Juncadella completing the full day’s testing for Mahindra.

Images courtesy of Rajan Jangda