As in any sporting operation, it’s the sum of the team’s parts that determine success, but enabling those parts to work is a bit like osmosis, it takes time for the crucial ingredients to take effect.
“It’s many, many small things” explains Heidfeld. “From the first to the second year, the team was changed in the background – now we are with Campos, and Dilbagh then told me that in season two they would not have time to change everything they wanted for season three. The team has developed, like many other teams have, their own drivetrain working together with Magneti Marelli and I think this was a good step”.
“Also, the team itself, some people in the team have stepped up and I have also tried to help. We are all quite realistic in analysing where the problems are and why, and we just try to improve all the time. I think Dilbagh is doing a great job – he’s still new to motorsport and I can imagine being in his shoes he has ten or twenty people telling him what he needs to do. Also on the financial side we can’t just spend what we want, so he’s very good at looking ahead and making sure the team is in a healthy financial position The team atmosphere is also very good, and I feel that they all want to be successful.”
Despite having the flatform they need, Mahindra hasn’t been maximising results so far, including the disappointment of Mexico City where Heidfeld once again clashed with his old protagonist Nicolas Prost, ultimately costing both Mahindra drivers a double points finish.
“I still feel that it was Nico’s mistake but the stewards decided not to take action” says Heidfeld. “I have a few views of my own but obviously Nico has a different one. For me, we really unlucky before that, I don’t like to blame things on luck too much but sometimes there are things that are not in your control”.
“I pitted in P2 and when I came out I was in P7 or something, i was thinking ‘what has gone wrong here!’. The problem was that Andretti didn’t know the pit stop time and left two seconds early, that meant we came out side-by-side and Sam Bird got ahead of me but this is actually where all the mess started. Overtaking was very difficult, more so than anticipated, and then Nico comes and just closes the gap because we were held up. As soon as he reaches my gearbox he thinks he can easily overtake, but he was not really alongside me, that’s my view. Unfortunately, my teammate drove into me but he was too close and couldn’t avoid me”.
Heidfeld is confident that Mahindra knows what they ned to do to win, but is aware that it will require a perfect weekend and perhaps a little bit of help from some of their more fancied opposition.
“We have to look at ourselves and improve, which is what we’ve done since the last race” Heidfeld explains.
“Partly it’s out of our control, because sometimes, or at least one team, are on average quicker than us, but we’ve seen in Mexico they are not unbeatable. We have to hope that [Renault] struggle a little bit, we do a perfect job and then anything can happen”.
Read the full Nick Heidfeld interview in our next edition of eRacing Magazine
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