Formula E: Mahindra & ABT Cupra withdraw from Cape Town E-Prix due to "safety concerns
Mahindra Racing and ABT Cupra will not participate in the 2023 Cape Town E-Prix. As the Indian constructor confirmed during qualifying on Saturday morning, both teams are withdrawing their cars from the race weekend with immediate effect. The reason for this was "safety concerns regarding the rear suspension."
In a written statement, both teams jointly said, "The Mahindra Racing Formula E Team has confirmed that it is withdrawing from qualifying and racing at the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Cape Town due to safety concerns regarding the rear suspension."
"A thorough investigation into the suspension elements of the Mahindra M9Electro will take place once the team returns to the UK. This decision also affects the ABT customer team. The safety of our riders and the rest of the team is the most important thing at this stage."
Mahindra Racing withdraw from Cape Town E-Prix.- Mahindra Racing (@MahindraRacing) February 25, 2023
Mahindra Racing Formula E team have confirmed their withdrawal from the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship qualifying sessions and race in Cape Town due to rear suspension safety concerns. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/V2mgaDNyhc
Mahindra's decision apparently came after analyzing vehicle data from practice sessions in South Africa. On Friday, Lucas di Grassi's (Mahindra) rear suspension broke during the 1st Free Practice session. The Brazilian steered his car into the emergency exit. Van der Linde also rolled out in practice after touching a wall.
In qualifying, the four cars from Mahindra and ABT already did not leave their garages at all - then both racing teams announced the joint decision.
Van der Linde misses home race, di Grassi his 1st ever Formula E race
The withdrawal means local hero Kelvin van der Linde, who replaces Robin Frijns at ABT Cupra who has been injured for several weeks, will not be able to compete in his home race. ProSieben expert Daniel Abt expressed his lack of understanding after Mahindra's renewed problems, which directly affect the team of his former Formula E team: "This is an absolute no-go. This is absolutely unprofessional."
His former teammate Lucas di Grassi will miss his first ever Formula E race as a result of Mahindra's withdrawal. After 104 rounds without interruption in the past eight years, this is the first time the Brazilian has had to watch. "I am very sad," he tweeted shortly after qualifying. "I will miss my first Formula E race due to a suspension problem. I'm very sorry for all our fans, partners and the whole team (...). We can fix it at the factory and we will come back stronger than ever in Sao Paulo."
I'm very sad. Gonna miss my first Formula E race due to suspension issue- Lucas Di Grassi (@LucasdiGrassi) February 25, 2023
So sorry for our supporters, partners and the whole team that worked so hard to get the car here
We can fix it back at the factory and we will be back stronger for São Paulo ePrix??
NEVER give up.
Also uncertain at present is the race participation of Edoardo Mortara (Maserati) and Sam Bird (Jaguar), whose cars are badly damaged after accidents in qualifying and must now be rebuilt.
additional reporting by Timo Pape.