Report: Will Mercedes return to Formula E in 2025 as a technical partner for Mahindra instead of ZF?
Mercedes could return to Formula E for the 2025 season. That's according to the well-connected colleagues at The Race. Instead of competing with its own team - as it did in the last three years of the Gen2 era - the German manufacturer could develop Mahindra's new powertrain as a technology partner of the Indian team and replace ZF.
Initial talks have already taken place between Mahindra and Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP), the report says. Mercedes-AMG HPP, based in Brixworth, UK, has been designing the Mercedes hybrid engines for Formula 1 for years and was also responsible for the development of the superior Formula E powertrains of the brand with the star, which won both world championship titles in 2021 and 2022 each.
This would end the technical partnership between Mahindra and ZF after five years. A potential split had already been hinted at during the pre-season testing in Valencia: the ZF logo had been covered with red tape on the team clothing of the Mahindra employees. ZF has not yet responded to an enquiry from e-Formula.news about its future in Formula E. According to our information, Mahindra customer team ABT Cupra will nevertheless continue to drive with the logos of its long-standing partner from Friedrichshafen on the car for the time being.
If the deal goes ahead, Tony Ross is expected to play an important role in the collaboration between Mahindra and Mercedes-AMG HPP. The former Mercedes engineer, who worked for the Stuttgart-based company in Formula 1 and Formula E, has already been hired by Mahindra as a technical advisor. Talks are said to have come about through the former race engineer of Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas and his connections.
Ross is one of the first key personnel changes in the engineering department under the leadership of CEO and team principal Frederic Bertrand. For example, the team's previous head of design, Lewis Butler, is to leave the team at the end of the year.
Bertrand: "We didn't have enough influence on the development"
"It's going to be a bit different," Bertrand announces, looking ahead to the second half of the Gen3 era. "One thing we realised is that we didn't have enough influence on the development. But also on the way we develop the car during the season."
"We will be less dependent on a global deal, but have more of a hardware supplier approach, so we are less dependent on one supplier," he describes. "We want to have more capability internally to improve and be able to react more quickly. We can rely more on not losing information between two or three different people dealing with one issue."
Generally, Bertrand said, he wants to try to simplify the work at Mahindra and make sure "we can do more with what we have." However, if a collaboration is already being sought for 2025, time is pressing: the first meeting with the FIA will take place as early as the beginning of March, at which each registered Formula E manufacturer - in this case Mahindra, not ZF or Mercedes - is to initially present its project.