Roberto Merhi joins Mahindra Racing at Jakarta E-Prix; Implications for Jehan Daruvala

Mahindra Racing has announced that former Formula One driver Roberto Merhi will be making his Formula E debut with the team at the upcoming Jakarta E-Prix. He will be stepping in for Oliver Rowland, who has mutually agreed to part ways with Mahindra Racing for the remainder of the season. This article will discuss the significance of Merhi’s arrival and its potential implications for Jehan Daruvala.

For now, Merhi’s participation is confirmed only for the Jakarta E-Prix. The Spanish driver recently took part in the Berlin rookie test for Mahindra Racing, where he showcased his potential alongside Jehan Daruvala and simulator driver Jordan King. Having previously competed in the 2015 Formula One season with Marussia, Merhi later transitioned to sportscar and endurance racing.

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Mahindra Racing CEO Frederic Bertrand expressed confidence in Merhi’s abilities, highlighting his impressive experience and track record in major championships. The team was impressed with Merhi’s performance during the Berlin test, leading to his selection as a replacement for Rowland. Bertrand acknowledged the challenge of joining mid-season but believes Merhi’s familiarity with the team will enable a seamless transition.

Initially, Mahindra Racing had considered promoting reserve driver Jehan Daruvala to a race seat. However, the Jakarta race clashes with a Formula 2 round in Spain, creating scheduling conflicts for the Indian driver. Daruvala had his first opportunity to drive the Mahindra M9Electro during the Berlin rookie test and adapted quickly, finishing in the top 10. The official statement from Mahindra Racing emphasizes that Merhi’s presence is only confirmed for Jakarta, leaving the possibility open for Daruvala to make his Formula E debut at a future race. With no further scheduling clashes apart from the London finale, there is potential for Daruvala to showcase his talent in the championship.

Mahindra Racing and Oliver Rowland reached a mutual agreement for him to step aside for the next seven races. This decision follows Rowland’s left-hand injury sustained in a crash during the Monaco E-Prix, although it is unlikely to be the sole reason for his departure, as he had already been cleared to race. Rowland joined Mahindra Racing full time last year and contributed significantly to the team’s point tally in the 2022 season. However, the 2023 season has posed challenges for Mahindra Racing, currently ranking 10th in the championship standings with only customer team Abt behind them. After the Berlin E-Prix, CEO Frederic Bertrand openly acknowledged the team’s struggle with efficiency.