Following the 2019 Marrakech ePrix, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship will run its second in-season rookie test of the 2018-19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship on 13 January 2019. Mahindra Racing will be fielding ex-Williams Racing Formula 1 driver Sergey Sirokin and Mahindra Racing Simulator and Development driver Sam Dejonghe.
Mahindra Racing will be heading to Marrakech in a bid to maintain its early-season form which sees the Indian outfit third in the constructors championship after Jerome d’ Ambrosio claimed a podium finish on his debut for the team at the 2018 Ad Diriyah ePrix.
So a chance to impress for Sirokin and Dejonghe could reward them with a chance to race for one of the most prestigious outfit in Formula E.
Sirokin took part in his first season of Formula 1 with Williams last year, where he managed one points finish at the 2018 Italian GP, but he proved to be more than a match for team-mate Lance Stroll throughout 2018. The Russian impressed in the junior ranks with his two seasons in GP2 in 2015 and 2016 respectively attracted the attention of Renault and was their development driver for 2017 before being signed by Williams last year. But the Russian was dropped at the end of last year and replaced by Robert Kubica with the Pole set to make his F1 return for the first time his rally accident in 2011.
But Sirokin is now eying up chances to race in top-level single-seater racing series with Formula E now starting to rival F1 for prestige, technology and driver quality. Ahead of his first FE test in Marrakech, Sirokin said:
“Formula E is now one of the most rapidly developing championships. The competition here is at very high level. More manufacturers are entering the series as they are confident that electric cars have strong future potential.
“More technical solutions appear in these cars and they are progressing rapidly. I drove a Formula E car in 2016 but now the car generation has changed it will be interesting to try the difference. I’m looking forward for this great experience with Mahindra Racing.”
Dejonghe meanwhile was appointed Mahindra Racing Simulator and Development driver in November 2017, and has so-far only taken part in one official test day for Mahindra Racing during pre-season testing at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia last October. Dejonghe made an impressive start to his career in single-seaters with second place in his rookie season of the European F3 Open Championship Cup in 2011. Dejonghe then changed tact and adopted a sportscar career with mixed success before he joined Mahindra last year.
Dejonghe is excited to take part in his first rookie test in Marrakech, saying ahead of the test that:
“There’s no better way to start 2019 than being able to jump into the new Gen2 Formula E car. With my simulation experience it will be nice to get some real time correlation and see how much I’ve advanced in Formula E having also driven the Mahindra Racing M4Electro.
“Although I want to enjoy the overall race weekend, the goal for the rookie test is simple; I want to help the team develop a race winning car as soon as possible by providing them with the best possible feedback.”
The post-2019 Marrakech ePrix rookie test will offer both Sirokin and Dejonghe the opportunity to show what they can do in the Formula E racing car for the first time in a bid to impress sufficiently to get the opportunity in the race car sooner rather than later.