Mahindra's Wehrlein: Overheating issue could have led to DNF
Mahindra Racing driver Pascal Wehrlein has revealed that the overheating issue that he faced in Santiago was so serious that it could have led to him retiring from the ABB FIA Formula E race.
Wehrlein had rapidly closed in on Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird during the final stages of the Santiago E-Prix after Sebastien Buemi’s (Nissan) retirement made it a two-horse race for victory.
However, before he could make a move on his rival, Wehrlein was forced to slow down as FE’s hottest ever race took a toll on his Mahindra car’s battery.
Speaking to Motorsport.tv, Wehrlein revealed that had he not backed off in the final two laps of the race, the battery overheating issue could have potentially turned terminal.
“So I think we could have even challenged for the win,” Wehrlein told Motorsport.com’s sister video streaming service. “But the last two laps we had to back off quite a lot otherwise we could have not finished the race because of battery temperature.
“So yeah a bit sad emotional about that but we should be happy about P2. It’s a great achievement for my first race.”
Santiago marked the first time Wehrlein was able to finish a Formula E race. The German driver was forced to miss the season opener in Riyadh due to contractual obligations imposed by his previous employer Mercedes, while his series debut in Marrakesh ended in retirement after just a single lap.
Given Wehrlein’s lack of experience in race conditions, Mahindra Racing team principal Dilbagh Gill wanted him to settle for second place, but the ex-Formula 1 driver says he was still willing to take risks to score a win.
"[Gill’s] giving me a lot of advices, many advices,” Wehrlein said. “I appreciate that. In the car i don’t think about that.
“My engineer even told me once in the race when I was challenging Sam for first position ‘Dilbagh is happy with P2’. Then I went back on the radio ‘I’m not happy with P2’.
“He wants that I get the experience, that I’m finishing the race to learn something from it. I did finish it. But it would have been better if [I had been able to win the race].”
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