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Formula E Hyderabad ePrix

Mahindra has only '20% chance' of home Formula E podium - di Grassi

Mahindra driver Lucas di Grassi concedes the Indian manufacturer only has a 20% chance of scoring a home podium in this Saturday’s Hyderabad E-Prix, admitting race pace remains a weakness.

Lucas di Grassi, Mahindra Racing, Mahindra M9Electro

After a number of unsuccessful attempts to bring Formula E to India, Mahindra will finally be able to race in front of its home crowd for the first time this weekend as Hyderabad hosts the fourth race of the 2022/23 season.

Mahindra has already scored a podium in the Gen3 era of FE courtesy of di Grassi's third-place result in the season opener in Mexico City, but it drew a blank last time out in the Diriyah double-header, leading to concerns about its performance in India.

PLUS: Why the Hyderabad E-Prix is only a first step in India's motorsport emergence

Asked how realistic a podium result was around the new 2.8km circuit built around the Hussain Sagar lake in Hyderabad, di Grassi said it wasn't entirely out of question but would require Mahindra to pull off something special from the M9Electro package.

"I would say for both of us [Oliver Rowland and me] combined [it's] somewhere around 20%, so not likely but possible," said di Grassi about Mahindra's podium chances. 

"But that's your realistic number. It's not likely because in a normal condition at the moment it's very, very hard to beat the Porsches and they have four [cars]. 

"So we need a little bit of a different scenario or if they qualify really bad or if they qualify really well or we find something in the set-up that we are not expecting.

"But at the moment from what we have seen in the first races it is going to be hard. But we are going to fight for it, it's possible."

Lucas di Grassi, Mahindra Racing, 3rd position, lifts his trophy

Lucas di Grassi, Mahindra Racing, 3rd position, lifts his trophy

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Di Grassi bagged a surprise pole position for Mahindra in Mexico City and both he and team-mate Rowland were able to progress to the duels in the opening leg of the Diriyah E-Prix a fortnight ago, suggesting Mahindra is rapid over a single lap.

Di Grassi is content with how the M9Electro has performed over qualifying so far, but feels Mahindra and the remaining teams have a long way to catch up to Porsche in the long runs following the German manufacturer's perfect start to the season.

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"So in qualifying the car is very decent, it's very quick," he said. "In the races for efficiency, regenerative capacity, software controls and set-ups, there is so much stuff that we still need to fine-tune. 

"I think the car has a good base, a good mechanical base but we still need to improve a bit.

"At the moment Porsche has an advantage at the moment. They seem to have an advantage in the race, not in quali. I think out of three qualifyings, we qualified in front of them twice. 

"So qualifying pace is very good, the car has very good performance, but then specifically compared to everybody else during the race they are very quick. So we need to find why and we need to improve ourselves but that's what everybody is trying to do."

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