Written by Hugh Waring, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri
Images: Mahindra Racing
The Mahindra Formula E team has announced the immediate replacement for the departing Oliver Rowland, with former Formula 1 driver Roberto Merhi, for the upcoming rounds in Jakarta. Rowland, a British driver who joined the team before the 2021-2022 season, has struggled to adapt to the new Gen3 machinery this year, prompting the decision to change.
Although Rowland managed to secure a podium finish in Seoul, during the final weekend of season eight, his performance during the current campaign has been challenging. With only two points finishes so far, including a sixth-place finish at the team's home race in Hyderabad, and a tenth-place finish in the opening race in Berlin, Rowland's total points tally stands at just nine. Additionally, he recently suffered a collision that left him with a bruised hand and required a visit to the hospital during the Monaco race weekend.
On Sunday, Mahindra Racing confirmed a mutual agreement had been reached with Rowland, resulting in his absence from the remaining seven races of the season, starting with the double-header in Jakarta next weekend. In his place, Roberto Merhi will step in, making his Formula E debut in Indonesia. Merhi had previously competed in the Berlin Rookie Test for Mahindra, earlier this year.
Expressing his excitement about the opportunity, Merhi said, "It's a huge honour for me to step in and represent Mahindra Racing for the races in Jakarta. I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity, and I'm determined to make the most of it." Having driven the M9Electro during the rookie test in Berlin, Merhi acknowledges the challenges of Formula E but feels ready, excited, and up for the task.
The team has yet to confirm if Merhi will continue to compete for the remainder of the season. Mahindra Racing's official reserve driver, Jehan Daruvala, is unavailable for the Jakarta weekend due to his Formula 2 commitments. However, Mahindra Racing CEO Frederic Bertrand expressed his delight in welcoming Merhi to the team. Bertrand praised Merhi's impressive experience in top-level racing and his positive track record in major championships. Given Merhi's familiarity with the team, following a successful outing during the Rookie Test in Berlin, Bertrand is confident that Merhi will seamlessly integrate into the Mahindra Racing team.