Mahindra Racing’s Bruno Senna is remaining upbeat in spite of a difficult first season in the FIA Formula E championship that has seen him finish no higher than fifth in the opening eight rounds.
Senna joined Mahindra alongside former Hispania F1 teammate Karun Chandhok for the inaugural season of the electric-powered series, and has led the team’s charge to rank tenth in the drivers’ standings.
Speaking to the official Formula E website, Senna admitted that his first year in the championship had not gone entirely to plan and that the title was out of reach, but he feels that the underlying pace shown by Mahindra has been impressive.
“Well, it’s mathematically possible,” Senna said when asked about his title aspirations. “It’s a bit too far from us unfortunately.
“We’ve had a few too many losses not through our fault. Whenever we had a race that we actually competed in, we were very competitive.
“So we did some good comeback races and drives through the field, so I think in that sense we’re looking good, but we need to put everything together to be able to be on the podium and on the top step of the podium in the future.”
Senna also said that he hoped to see a round in Brazil join the Formula E calendar in the not-too-distant future following the success of compatriots Nelson Piquet Jr and Lucas di Grassi at the top of the standings.
“We need a few Brazilian drivers who are winning, which we already have,” Senna said. “Obviously we need a race in Brazil, so let’s work for that.”
The penultimate round of the Formula E season takes place next weekend in Moscow, Russia, ahead of the final double-header round in London at the end of June.
The Red Bull Racing pit crew may have already made headlines last weekend when it completed the fastest pit stop in Formula One history, changing Max Verstappen’s tires in 1.82 seconds, but the team’s most recent stunt took their skills to new heights – quite literally.
With the help of the Russian Space agency Roscomos, a group of the team’s mechanics completed the world’s first zero-gravity pit stop, on-board a IIyushin II-76K cosmonaut training plane.
Using a 2005 BR1, the team filmed the viral video over the course of a week, enduring seven flights and about 80 parabolas – periods in which the plane climbs 45 degrees before falling again at a ballistic arch of 45 degrees, creating a period of weightlessness for approximately 22 seconds.
With such a short time frame between weightlessness periods, the car and equipment had to be both quickly and safely secured before gravity once again took effect. Each filming lasted roughly 15 seconds, and the stunt was the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team had ever undertaken.
“It pushed us harder than I thought it would,” said Red Bull Support Team Mechanic Joe Robinson. “You realize how much you rely on gravity when you don’t have any!
“It challenges you to think and operate in a different way – and that was brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and honestly, I could have stayed and done it all month. It was amazing. I think it’s the coolest, most fun thing the Live Demo team has ever done with a show car.”
Though Red Bull was the first team to perform a pit stop in zero gravity, surprisingly Red Bull was not the first team to put a car through zero gravity. In 1999, McLaren driver David Coulthard and his car experienced zero gravity as part of a promotion for then-sponsor West Cigarettes.
Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter