Another new face will grace the FIA Formula E grid in season three after Mahindra Racing announced today that Nick Heidfeld would be partnered by Felix Rosenqvist.
Rosenqvist, 24, enjoyed a successful five-year stint in Formula 3, culminating in clinching the FIA European F3 title in 2015 before moving to Indy Lights for 2016 with Belardi Auto Racing. There, the Swede won his second race. He also opted to dovetail the campaign with a drive in the Blancpain GT Series.
Rosenqvist has enjoyed ties with Mercedes for many years, resulting in a call-up to its DTM squad for the race in Moscow last weekend following Esteban Ocon’s surprise promotion into a Formula 1 seat. Rosenqvist called time on his Indy Lights programme after the Toronto weekend (in which he won both races), paving the way for a move into Formula E with Mahindra for season three.
“I’m thrilled to join Mahindra Racing at this exciting time,” Rosenqvist said in the press release. “Racing in Formula E will be something genuinely brand new to me. It’s a step into the unknown but I’ve had a very warm welcome by Mahindra Racing and I have a strong and experienced team mate in Nick. I’ve tested the car already and I look forward to intensifying our preparations during the two preseason tests at Donington. I love new challenges and this is going to be a massive one, for sure.”
Whatever Rosenqvist has raced in, he’s been fast and successful. As well as winning the FIA F3 title, he found immediate success in Indy Lights, is a two-time Macau Grand Prix winner (street circuit experience that will be crucial in Formula E) and has shared grids with many of motorsport’s biggest names.
“I’m fully aware that it will take some time to learn the trade of electric racing, as the technology in Formula E is so different to what I’m accustomed,” he went on. “You need to be fast, as always, but you also have to be clever and energy efficient. I also find the calendar highly exciting. We’ll be racing on street tracks in some incredible locations, and I can’t wait for Hong Kong.”
Heidfeld continues with Mahindra for a second season after a quietly impressive campaign that saw him score the team’s maiden Formula E podium in Beijing. “I am excited to continue with Mahindra Racing into season three of Formula E and welcome my new teammate, Felix,” Heidfeld said. “We had very productive private testing sessions with the M3Electro last month and are prepared for the challenges ahead. The new car is a significant evolution for Mahindra Racing, one which I am very passionate about and I’m confident that we can be competitive. Personally, I am also really looking forward to some of the new Formula E circuit venues coming up!”
Rosenqvist’s arrival does confirm the departure of Bruno Senna from Mahindra after two seasons. Senna scored his breakthrough podium finish over the London weekend in July 2016, but an otherwise-patchy campaign means he is without a seat for season three. The Brazilian recently said that he was open to taking a season out of Formula E as he ramps up his commitments in sports cars for 2017.
“We are thrilled to welcome Felix to the Mahindra Racing family, and of course to welcome Nick back for another season,” Mahindra team principal Dilbagh Gill said of the announcement. “As a Formula 3 champion and accomplished driver across a number of race series, Felix has proven his skill on many levels and, crucially, tight street circuits such as Macau. I would like to personally thank Bruno Senna for his contribution to Mahindra Racing during our first two years in Formula E.”
Image courtesy of Mahindra Racing