Formula E: Roberto Merhi to get another Mahindra opportunity in Portland
Roberto Merhi will also compete in Formula E's Portland E-Prix for Mahindra Racing. The Indian team confirmed Wednesday that the Spaniard will get another opportunity in the electric racing series due to his "positive performance" at the previous event in Jakarta. The team's official reserve driver, Jehan Daruvala, on the other hand, will once again go away empty-handed.
For several months, Jehan Daruvala prepared for his Formula E debut with Mahindra. The 24-year-old is this year's official reserve driver for the racing team and also publicly announced his goal of taking part in E-Prixs in the electric series. Oliver Rowland's surprising exit opened up what seemed like the perfect opportunity for the Indian to do so a few weeks ago - but a scheduling clash with his Formula 2 program made a start in Indonesia impossible. Instead, Mahindra fielded former Formula 1 starter Roberto Merhi.
As the team has now announced, Merhi will also compete in Portland as Lucas di Grassi's teammate. This is despite the fact that Daruvala has no Formula 2 commitments on the same weekend. "After his positive performance at the event (in Jakarta), Roberto will once again race the #8 M9Electro in the Portland," the Mumbai and Banbury-based racing team confirmed.
Merhi wants to "keep improving from where we left off"
“I am very happy to be back in Portland with Mahindra Racing, "Merhi commented on his return to action. "After Jakarta, I now have more experience in the car, which will help me a lot and I will be able to keep improving from where we left off. I think the fact that is a new circuit to everyone will be beneficial as everyone will start with the same experience level on the track. I have been working hard with my engineers and the team to learn to adjust my driving style to the unique Formula E car. Let’s see how it goes in the next race, but I am optimistic that we can make a good step forward. I would like to thank Mahindra Racing for the confidence and support in me.
Whether Daruvala will even get to race this year is now more questionable than ever. According to Formula E regulations, driver changes for the last three events of a season are only possible in exceptional cases. In theory, no more changes are permitted after the Portland E-Prix, which is the third-last event of the season. Confirmation that Merhi will also be in the car in Rome and London is still pending. But a Daruvala debut in 2023 is increasingly receding into the distance as a result of Merhi's renewed commitment.
In Jakarta, Roberto Merhi scored no points. Starting from 22nd and 21st on the grid, he made up four positions on both race days and finished 18th and 17th respectively on Saturday and Sunday. Unlike the double-header in Indonesia, however, he will only get one opportunity at the Portland E-Prix: The round will be held as a single race on June 24, 2023. Due to the time difference to central Europe, the race will start at 02:00 CEST in the night from Saturday to Sunday.