Mahindra Racing shines in Santiago [Sponsored]
At the end of January, the ABB FIA Formula E family travelled to the scenic city of Santiago in Chile. Arriving at the track located close to the Andes as the runner-up in the teams’ championship and with Jerome d’Ambrosio leading the drivers’ standings, Mahindra Racing set sights high – as did Pascal Wehrlein, who quickly wanted to make everyone forget about his first official Formula E outing a few weeks before in Marrakesh.
With Mahindra Racing starting the season more successfully than ever before, the team faced some serious questions before heading out onto the tricky track for the first time this year: would they be able to defend their second place in the current standings? Could Wehrlein show another strong performance in qualifying and deliver accordingly in the race? And would d’Ambrosio leave Santiago still leading the championship? A more detailed look into the numbers clarifies whether the team matched its own goals.
While Santiago is not known for its chilly climate, the sizzling temperature on Saturday were surprising – even for some Chileans. 38°C during the race effectually meant the cars and drivers had to endure an air temperature of almost twice what they experiences two weeks prior in Marrakesh. A big challenge that meant d’Ambrosio and Wehrlein had to get as much time on the track as possible – which they did. All in all, they completed 163 laps, nearly equally divided between the two of them in all sessions apart from FP1 in which the Belgian completed 28 laps while his teammate totalled 25. Later on in qualifying, Wehrlein brought his difference down to just one lap, as he completed two more laps during the Super Pole shootout.
Laps completed in each session by each driver (d'Ambrosio vs. Wehrlein)
Laps completed (Mahindra Racing vs. Envision Virgin Racing*)
* Envision Virgin Racing have been selected as the benchmark as they are currently leading the Team’s Championship
One would be forgiven for thinking that Jerome d’Ambrosio would easily outperform his teammate due to his vast experience and knowledge of the sport. On the contrary, it was Pascal Wehrlein who flew the Mahindra Racing colours in Santiago, showing quicker lap times than his Belgian teammate in every session. While some external factors such as the track conditions during qualifying – in which d’Ambrosio went out in group one while Wehrlein participated in the last group-qualifying session – might have influenced the performance gap, the difference in their ideal race laps suggest that Wehrlein (1:11.074) adapted to the Chilean more effectively than d’Ambrosio (1:11.875).
Comparison d'Ambrosio vs. Wehrlein
Session best | 1:08.630
Jerome d'Ambrosio | 1:09.583
Pascal Wehrlein | 1:08.776
Session best | 1:08.463
Jerome d'Ambrosio | 1:10.083
Pascal Wehrlein | 1:08.463
Free Practice 2
Session best | 1:08.194
Jerome d'Ambrosio | 1:08.533
Pascal Wehrlein | 1:08.442
Session best | 1:11.263
Jerome d'Ambrosio | 1:12.018
Pascal Wehrlein | 1:11.585
SANTIAGO E-PRIX 2018 vs. SANTIAGO E-PRIX 2019
All in all, Mahindra Racing completed 163 laps in Chile this year, 28 more than the year before. The all-electric series wasn’t back on the same track though: the new circuit (2.348 kilometres) is about 100 metres shorter than the original track Formula E drove on last year (2.470 kilometres). The update features more high-speed passages which makes it difficult to compare Mahindra Racing’s Santiago performances with one another. Nevertheless, taking into account the new distance as well as the most prominent track characteristics, multiplying the 2019 lap times with 1.75 should account for the changes in general and thus allow an approximated comparison.
This being said, the Indian team’s pace improved – something that could already be seen in Ad Diriyah and Marrakesh. The biggest jump could be seen in qualifying with Wehrlein undercutting Mahindra Racing’s fastest qualifying lap of 2018 by 5.174 seconds. Meanwhile, during the race, the gap shrunk to just 0.150 seconds as the new rules account for slower lap times during the race as the cars are no longer swapped.
Difference in fastest lap time