1. DILBAGH GILL'S JOURNEY TO FORMULA E
Istanbul doesn’t have much of a well-known connection to the history of Formula E.
But for Mahindra Racing, it was in many ways the genesis point, especially for the man who formed, managed, nurtured and turned it into a winning proposition.
Dilbagh Gill was in the Turkish capital city back in September 2013, when he received a call from Anand Mahindra, the visionary Chairman of the board and Managing Director of the Mahindra Group.
The call was brief, but importantly it detailed an exciting new mission for Gill. He was deployed to manage Mahindra Racing so that it could represent the automotive manufacturing giant on a thrilling new electric global stage; the FIA Formula E Championship.
I still remember his words to this day,” recalls Gill. “He said ‘I don’t want the world to feel that Indians are the last to anything. And I don’t want us to be the last team coming into this championship.’
Mahindra Racing was far from the last team to sign up. In fact, it was the eighth and one of the original founding teams, and Formula E seemed to be the perfect fit. Mahindra’s racing ethos was already well-known; it had seen the establishment of the Mahindra Reva electric vehicles division and also become a force in motorcycle racing.
We strongly believe that Formula E can provide an excellent global showcase for our electric vehicle technology,” said Mahindra, upon its entry to Formula E being made public at the end of November 2013.
With advanced operations and expertise in electronics, IT, automotive technologies and manufacturing, we are already seeing the fusion of this technology into our electric vehicle operations. Racing will further accelerate that trend while Formula E is set to raise awareness globally about the benefits of electric vehicles.”
For Gill there was no time to lose as he concentrated on establishing a team to run the effort from an operational, technical, sporting and business standpoint.
Always embracing a challenge, Gill had competition and sporting passion in his blood from an early age, and a little known fact is that he once donned tools as a mechanic for Bowman Racing in Indian Formula Three in 1993.
Gill first met the founding fathers of the Carlin Motorsport operation – Trevor Carlin and Martin Stone – when he was working for the Bowman concern which pre-dated Carlin.
It all came full-circle in 2014 when the deal was completed for Carlin to become the operational partners for Mahindra’s first Formula E campaign with Carlin single-seater old boys Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna.
His brief work in F3 apart, Gill’s main achievements in motorsport were in the sports business and technology fields after working for eight years as Vice President for Sports Practice and Advisory Relations for Tech Mahindra in the USA.
This included the huge IT operation at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa for which he and his team won the best run sporting event award at the Sports Event Management Awards at the end of that year.
Gill was continuing to manage sports initiatives for the Mahindra Group in 2013 when he took that momentous call from Mr Mahindra in Istanbul.
It was to be the start of an epic journey which saw Gill form a few iterations of the Formula E team which tasted triumph three times in the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons with Felix Rosenqvist and Jerome d’Ambrosio.
It has been quite a time and in some ways it has flown by,” says Gill. “Formula E is such an exciting place to be right now and to be part of the heritage of it too is nice. I think there are only around 20 or so people that have attended every race and I am one of them. To think we have stood on the top step is very pleasing, but in sport you have to strive to keeping doing it, and that is exactly the philosophy we go in to every season and every race with.”
2. A TREE FOR EVERY FORMULA E VIEWER ON TWITCH MAHINDRA RACING EXTENDS TREE PLANTING INITIATIVE TO RACE AT HOME CHALLENGE
To mark World Environment Day this Friday, Mahindra Racing will plant a tree for every viewer of the finale of Formula E’s Race At Home Challenge on Twitch
• This builds on Mahindra Racing’s commitment made ahead of Season 6 to plant a tree for every FANBOOST vote the team receives
• In total, Mahindra Racing is committed to planting up to one million trees from the initiative
4 June 2020, Banbury, UK – To mark World Environment Day this Friday, 5 June, Mahindra Racing is extending its Season 6 tree planting initiative to the ABB Formula E Race At Home Challenge. The Race at Home Challenge sees Formula E drivers compete in an esports competition during the red flag period of racing due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Ahead of Season 6, the team announced that for every FANBOOST vote received by the team’s drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Jérôme D’Ambrosio will convert into a tree planted; meaning fans have a direct positive impact on the environment by voting.
Now, as part of this initiative, for every viewer tuning into Twitch at www.twitch.com/fiaformulae for the Race At Home Challenge finale weekend on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 June starting at 3:30pm BST, Mahindra Racing will plant a tree with a commitment of up to half a million trees.
The initiative is a measure that Mahindra Racing is taking as it continually strives to make positive changes for the environment. A full mature tree can provide a year long oxygen supply to a family of four and can absorb as much as 48 pounds of CO2 per year.
Mahindra Racing was the first, and remains the only, Formula E team to achieve FIA Sustainability Accreditation. The squad first successfully attained its two star rating in November 2016 and, following a periodic audit in February 2019, Mahindra Racing maintained its status in the framework, with the aim of being carbon neutral by 2020.
The team is committed to the FIA environmental certification programme by minimising its environmental impact and working towards achieving carbon neutrality. It also takes learnings from advanced technologies in its race car to apply it to its road cars within its Race to Road initiative, developing and promoting more sustainable transportation solutions.
3. ALEX LYNN JOINS MAHINDRA RACING
24 JUNE 2020, BANBURY, UK – Mahindra Racing is delighted to welcome Alex Lynn to the team. The 26-year-old Brit, who was GP3 Series Champion in 2014 and is a Macau Grand Prix and Sebring 12 Hours winner, will pilot the #94 M6Electro for the remainder of the 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship alongside Jérôme D’Ambrosio in the #64.
Lynn has demonstrated his versatility as a racing driver, achieving successes in both single-seater and sportscar categories. He achieved early single-seater championship titles in Formula Renault UK Winter Cup and Formula Renault UK. In 2013 he took victory at the renowned Macau Grand Prix, and then took the overall championship win the following year in the GP3 Series in his rookie campaign.
He is a multiple race winner in the GP2 series and fulfilled a development driver role for the Williams Racing Formula 1 Team. He has Formula E experience having raced with both DS Virgin Racing and Jaguar Racing and has competed in a total of 21 races, with his best result coming at Punte del Este where he finished sixth.
4. DILBAGH GILL: LEADERSHIP THROUGH PASSION
Formula E has a rich diversity of characters as team principals all the way up and down the pitlane.
There are the well-known ex-racers such as Allan McNish (Audi) and Susie Wolff (Venturi); the corporate company men such James Barclay (Jaguar), Tommaso Volpe at Nissan and Ian James with Mercedes-Benz EQ; then there’s the committee of four approach from Porsche, the out and out engineering lead of NIO333 with Christian Silk, BMW’s Roger Griffiths and Envision Virgin with Sylvain Filippi.
A more classic owner/team principal approach from Jay Penske’s Dragon and Mark Preston’s DS Techeetah also adds variety to leadership personalities.
Then there is our own Dilbagh Gill, who stands alone as a management presence with a unique mix of business experience and competitive desire which, unlike all of the above, came to Formula E with little practical or prior motorsport experience.
He did so by astuteness and a respectful learning ethic to this new craft, and he did it diligently, especially during the formative season of 2014/15 when a partnership with Carlin Motorsport informed the direction which the team would take.
“It was an interesting season and I spent a lot of it learning, this is true,” says Gill today.
“We were established in super quick time and Mahindra Racing announced itself positively, but it also provided challenges at the time, so I had to understand what kind of leadership we needed and how that could integrate into the team’s future,” said Gill.
Gill’s time in a variety of senior management positions with Tech Mahindra from 2006-2014, one of which included an award-winning role in running the entire IT solution for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, stood him in good stead.
For Mahindra Racing’s second season there was a shift in focus and a new partnership with Adrian Campos’ eponymous QEV Tech engineering team.
Additionally, Nick Heidfeld was signed from Venturi and the former multiple podium-visiting F1 driver brought an immeasurable amount of experience and clear technical thinking to the team.
Heidfeld has an enormous amount of respect for Gill and retains a role in a development capacity to this day.
“I’ve had the most trustworthy relationship ever with Dilbagh in my whole career in motorsport,” Nick says. “There is huge trust between us which is nice. This shows why I am still linked to this team even though I don’t drive for them anymore.
“I think there is a risk that people sometimes underestimate Dilbagh because in the beginning he had no racing experience really and also he likes to watch and look, not to do a lot of blah-blah-blah.”
“He is clever and analyses things. He started this from zero and then developed it into something outstanding and I like to think that I helped a little in this process.”
With victories, podiums and success on the track, often the focus has also been on Dilbagh’s now famous presence in the back of the garage as he lives and breathes every moment of a race day.
Whether it be the concentrated expressions as he looks at the timing screens or the tapping of his heart as races or qualifying sessions reach a crescendo, Gill is a favourite of commentary duo Jack Nicholls and Dario Franchitti on the TV coverage.
“You see, I like to display emotions sometimes, the single reason being I really care about the team and the people in it,” says Gill.