Mahindra lose lead in both titles after double DNF in Hong Kong

by Tom Cairns
Pascal Wehrlein - Mahindra Racing at the 2019 Hong Kong E-Prix.

Mahindra Racing were hoping to continue to push for their first ABB FIA Formula E Championship title, only to be dented by appalling luck in both qualifying and race during the 2019 Hong Kong E-Prix.

A wet qualifying and being in the wrong group at the wrong time had put Pascal Wehrlein and then-championship leader Jerome D’Ambrosio on the back row of the grid.

Both drivers steadily made places on the opening lap until running into the stationary Felipe Nasr on the next tour. That crash had ended Mahindra’s race on the spot, as all three drivers retired with wrecked suspension.

D’Ambrosio’s non-finish means he drops to second in the drivers’ standings behind Sam Bird by one point. The Belgian believed that Nasr’s car should have been called into the pits sooner before the incident.

“I think it was obvious that there was an issue with Nasr’s car as there was smoke coming out of it so Dragon should have brought him into the pits, made the car safe and then sent him out,” D’Ambrosio mentioned.

“In my opinion they caused a dangerous collision and that needs looking at. It’s disappointing because we knew there would be incidents today that we could have tried to take advantage of but, unfortunately, it happened to us.

“We have to pick ourselves back up and focus on the next race.”

Pascal Wehrlein and Jerome D'Ambrosio - Mahindra Racing at the 2019 Hong Kong E-Prix.

Credit: Sam Bloxham/LAT Images

Wehrlein’s retirement is his second in four races, and drops him to ninth overall on thirty points. The German learnt that the Mahindra’s car needs to be more “competitive in wet conditions” if they want to improve.

“It was a disappointing weekend unfortunately,” Wehrlein said.

“We didn’t have the pace from the beginning and couldn’t find the solution in time. Obviously the race was really short; I couldn’t avoid the accident because the car in front of me crashed into the wall so it was an early finish for us.

“We have to work hard now to make sure our car is competitive in wet conditions because we know we have got the pace in the dry. So we learn from this and move on to Sanya.”

A pointless round in Hong Kong leaves the Indian team third in the teams’ standings and fourteen points off the top. Team Principal Dilbagh Gill was “disappointed” for both of his men to not make it far in Formula E’s 50th race.

“It’s unfortunate that on the celebration of 50 races for Mahindra Racing it turned into our shortest race of our Formula E history,” Gill added.

“We struggled in the morning in practice a little bit, which set us up for a challenging qualifying.

“We are obviously very disappointed but we are still up there in both championships so now we must take the fight to Sanya and get back on track.”

Sanya in China will be the stage for the next ePrix on the 23rd March.

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