Pascal Wehrlein is undoubtedly one of the brightest talents in the world of Motorsport. If you ask any Formula 1 fan to name three drivers who deserve to be in Formula 1 but aren't, Wehrlein will surely get a mention. This is probably why Wehrlein’s entry is a big deal for Formula E and Mahindra Racing — he has opted to build a career in the all-electric series rather than wait for a cockpit in Formula 1. In his debut in Formula E last season, Wehrlein scored an impressive podium in only his second race (Santiago) in the series and followed it up with a pole position in the next (Mexico).
The German driver has had an envious list of employers. After leaving Mercedes’ driver program that propelled him into Formula 1 in 2014, he joined Ferrari’s Formula 1 team operations as a development driver at the start of 2019 — a role he performs alongside his duties for Mahindra Racing in Formula E.
Apart from his test and development driver duties, Wehrlein raced two full seasons in Formula 1 for Manor (2016) and Sauber (2017). His 10th-place finish for Manor at the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix is talked about till date.
— ABB Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) November 20, 2019
In Wehrlein, Mahindra Racing definitely have the talent to keep the competition at bay, and hopefully, they will give him a car that can do exactly that. In this exclusive interview with Firstpost, the Mahindra Racing driver talks about the team, his preparations for the upcoming season and if Formula 1 and Formula E can be compared at all:
There are constant comparisons about Formula 1 and Formula E; is there really a need to compare the two?
No! Also, they are not comparable — the two series are so different. It isn’t only because of the engines, but because we drive on the street circuits. Every team has a similar car, more or less. There are only certain areas where you can improve. This is completely different thinking than in Formula 1 where lap-time can be bought with money. In my view, the two are completely different and not comparable.
What were the team’s key learning from the pre-season test?
We had a good official test in Valencia as were the few private tests. I think we are well-prepared. But obviously, you never know where you are until the first race. So we are looking forward to that.
NOTE: Across the three days of testing, Wehrlein registered the second-fastest lap-time!
What are your and the team’s goals for the 2019-20 season?
I think the team has always shown that it is capable of winning races and that we are a competitive unit. Last year was my first season in Formula E and I managed to score pole positions, a podium, but I am still missing race wins. Hopefully, I can achieve that this season. Otherwise, the aim is to get better and score the best possible result.
In the last two seasons, Mahindra Racing have started strong and faded away as the season progressed. What has been the key reason for this dip in form?
In Formula E, the competition is fierce. Last season, we missed a bit of development. The other teams probably made bigger steps during the season. In the beginning, we had one of the best cars and the results showed us that. Jerome won a race and was leading the championship for quite a long time. When I started my season, I was on the podium straightaway. We had a really good car in the beginning, but from the mid-to-end season, especially on certain tracks, we struggled a bit more. Hopefully, we are more-consistent and more-competitive this season.
Being a Formula E driver, are you expected to follow a sustainable lifestyle outside of the race track too?
I am trying! (laughs)
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Updated Date: Nov 22, 2019 17:05:55 IST