Mahindra will use Pininfarina to match big Formula E rivals

The Mahindra Formula E team believes working more closely with legendary Italian design company Pininfarina can help it match the larger teams in the series

Mahindra will use Pininfarina to match big Formula E rivals

Mahindra bought the Pininfarina group in late 2015 alongside sister company Mahindra Tech, and has now announced a collaboration between the three parties in FE.

The partnership includes Mahindra having access to Pininfarina's industry-leading windtunnel, able to simulate a car following another at 150km/h, with the M4Electro having already used the facility.

Pininfarina will also take an active role in helping develop Mahindra's 2018/19 car, with the Indian team able to use its partner's testing facilities in Italy.

Mahindra leads the teams' and drivers' championships after the first three races, winning two with points leader Felix Rosenqvist but also benefitting from stuttering starts from the likes of Audi and Renault.

Team principal Dilbagh Gill told Autosport it was essential to have a partner of Pininfarina's ilk.

"It's huge," he said. "Even now, you understand it's a new car coming and we're not developing aerodynamics.

"[But] we need to understand the existing aero of the car and it's going to be really huge and important because as you know we do not have the infrastructure of other teams.

"They can push the car from one room to another to the dyno, to the windtunnel and then the four-post rig.

"We do not have this, so we can maximise what we get from Pininfarina.

"This is a pretty useful tool for us and there are other areas of expertise such as high-end wake, the material side, there are lots of areas [to use]."

Until now, Pininfarina's most recognisable contribution to FE has been producing some concept images for the 2018/19 car back in early 2016.

The actual 2018/19 FE car is heavier than the original target, putting pressure on teams to make savings elsewhere.

Gill added that early windtunnel testing has led to the team using a new paint type shaving kilos off the car's overall weight.

"I can share a story with you, the new paint on the car has reduced three and a half kilos of weight from the car," he said.

When asked if independent and smaller outfits will need similar partnerships to succeed in the face of increasing manufacturer presence, Gill said: "I think yes.

"We all have to have a stable powertrain partner. This has started in season one, we see it with GKN and Jaguar, HWA with Venturi and Schaeffler with Audi.

"So these are going to start happening.

"By next year, I suspect everyone will have a dancing partner."

Pininfarina has been increasingly focussed on electric cars, and is developing a hydrogen-powered hypercar, but says it will not get involved in building a powertrain or battery for FE.

"We will be system integrators, powertrain integrators," said Pininfarina chief executive officer Silvio Pietro Angori.

"We will not develop a single system that goes into an electric powertrain."

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