Mahindra Racing will field a completely new driver line-up for the upcoming season 10, after announcing on Tuesday afternoon that Lucas di Grassi had departed the team.
Despite being contracted for 2024, Di Grassi has decided to leave the Indian manufacturer ahead of the new campaign, leaving Mahindra with another seat to fill.
Di Grassi only joined the team at the start of season nine and has therefore jumped ship after just one season, something which comes at a time when he’s being heavily linked with a return to the ABT CUPRA Formula E Team. The Brazilian raced for ABT from season one to season seven, with that in many ways being his Formula E home.
With ABT yet to announce their season 10 driver line-up and having a space to fill following the exit of Robin Frijns, perhaps a return is on the cards for Di Grassi.
His season with Mahindra for the opening campaign of the Gen3 era was a massively disappointing one, mostly due to how poor the Mahindra powertrain was. A shock pole position and podium at the season opener in Mexico City was the highlight of the team’s and Di Grassi’s year, with it having gone dramatically downhill from there.
Mahindra are very much at the start of a long journey to get back to the podium places consistently in the series, with Di Grassi admitting that his and the Banbury-based side’s “visions have diverged”.
Regardless of this, he wishes the team the “brightest future” ahead of the sport’s centurion campaign.
“I want to express my gratitude to all our team members for the experiences we shared during what proved to be a challenging year,” Di Grassi stated on X/Twitter.
“This decision ultimately benefits us both, as our perspectives and visions have diverged. I wish Mahindra Racing the brightest future ahead!”
Di Grassi salvaged just three points finishes in season nine, with him having featured towards the back of the pack on a regular basis. His race pace was actually very good, but Mahindra’s disappointing performance over a single-lap often left him with just too much work to do in the races.
His frustration was clear at times, as was Oliver Rowland’s, who left mid-season, and has since returned to the Nissan Formula E Team. There has clearly been a sudden development between Di Grassi and Mahindra, as the season three Champion seemed set on remaining with the team prior to the most recent campaign concluding.
Mahindra Team Principal and CEO Frederic Bertrand revealed that it was felt that the “time is right” for both parties to go in separate directions, in order to “pursue other options for the future”.
“On behalf of everybody at Mahindra Racing, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Lucas for his contribution to the team over the past year,” said Bertrand.
“Lucas has played a valuable and integral role since joining us ahead of the GEN3 era, but both parties feel the time is right to pursue other options for the future.
“He will always remain part of the Mahindra Racing family, and leaves with nothing but our best wishes for his future endeavours.”