Karun Chandhok is set to part company with Mahindra Racing ahead of the second FIA Formula E season following a difficult first campaign in the championship, according to a report.
Chandhok raced for Mahindra alongside Bruno Senna in the electric-powered series’ inaugural season, scoring 18 points – all of which came in the first two races – to finish 17th in the final standings.
Speaking to Press Trust of India, Chandhok revealed that he is set to step away from Formula E and will instead focus on sportscar racing for the rest of 2015.
“It is looking increasingly unlikely,” Chandhok said when asked if he’d be continuing with Mahindra.
“Obviously season one was a disappointment for us after a good start. We seem to have differing thoughts on what direction the team needs to go in to improve in season two.
“Ultimately Dilbagh Gill [Mahindra team principal] has decided he wants to experiment with some changes to the overall team.
“From my side I am going to step away and spend the next few months refocusing on my options in sportscar racing and also some new projects.”
Mahindra is yet to officially announce its line-up for season two, but looks set to retain Senna after the Brazilian led the team’s charge in season one and even played a pivotal role in deciding the championship at the final race in London.
PTI’s report also claims that Mahindra will be announcing its line-up for season two on Monday at Donington Park, where the first official pre-season test will take place.
“We are very close to deciding on the drivers for the upcoming season,” Gill said. “We have tested with a lot of exciting drivers in the past one month and we are evaluating who is best for the team.
“Whoever comes on board, the bottomline is performance of the team. Last year was disappointing to be honest. We did not perform to our capabilities. It wasn’t acceptable to anyone in the team.”
There have been five different winners in the last five weeks of the NTT IndyCar season and driver that kicked off that streak in Elkhart Lake is in desperate need of a victory to help close the points gap to the leader. After being involved in the Lap 1 accident at Pocono Raceway last week, Alexander Rossi sits 35 points behind Josef Newgarden. Rossi’s two victories this season have come on road courses.
This week’s Bommarito Auto Group 500 the World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway is the third race on this track since IndyCar first revisited it in 2017. Newgarden took the checkers in 2017; Will Power grabbed the glory last year. Gateway also hosted races from 2001-2003.
Here are some of the storylines to watch this Sunday:
For most of the drivers in the field, this will mark only their third time to race at Gateway, but two drivers were around in 2003 when IndyCar visited this track previously. Scott Dixon finished 15th in that race. He found the handle when Indy returned in 2017 to finish second and then third last year. Tony Kanaan was second in 2003; unfortunately he went the other direction and has not scored a top-10 at Gateway since.
If one is looking for perfection on this track type, Simon Pagenaud is the only driver to sweep the top 10 on ovals in the past two years. In his last 10 starts on them, he has garnered an average finish of 5.2; his last five attempts have been sixth or better including a win in this year’s Indy 500. Pagenaud finished third at Gateway in 2017 and was fourth last year.
The top two drivers in the points standings should also challenge for a top-five this week. Rossi was perfect alongside Pagenaud on ovals until his accident last week at Pocono with a sweep of the top 10 and seven top-fives in his last nine races. Newgarden also has nine top-10s and a worst of 13th on ovals in the past two years.
Don’t count Dixon out of the points battle yet. While he currently sits 52 points out of first, Dixon is the hottest driver on the circuit with a current streak of five top-fives to his credit including his victory at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago. His oval record is a little spottier with two runner-up finishes and two 17th-place finishes in the last four races.
Last week’s first-lap carnage ended Rossi’s top-10 streak at seven, but one other driver was able to sneak through and extend his. Graham Rahal will vie for his ninth consecutive top-10 this week, but that success is questionable in light of his Gateway record. Rahal finished 12th in 2017 and was barely able to crack the top 10 in 10th last year.