The British driver departed the Japanese manufacturer for Mahindra at the conclusion of season seven, before embarking on a frustrating first campaign with the Indian manufacturer. Rowland’s first season with Mahindra was the last of the Gen2 era, with him having picked up a rostrum and a pole position in the Seoul season finale double-header.
His first campaign with the Banbury-based team was overshadowed by several retirements, eight to be exact. He failed to finish in exactly half of the season eight races, with Gen3 having been the 31-year-old’s chance to start fresh.
With Mahindra’s uncompetitive powertrain, it was hardly a fresh start for Rowland, who spent the majority of the nine races he started in 2022/23 towards the back. He salvaged just two top-10 finishes in the nine season nine races he entered, whilst he retired from two and failed to start one – Cape Town after Mahindra pulled out of the event.
The relationship just wasn’t working, with the decision to leave the side having “ultimately” been Rowland’s decision.
It was ultimately my decision,” Rowland tolde-formula.news. “It just wasn’t (at Mahindra) the way I would have liked it to be. Honestly, I didn’t feel anything was going to change in the short term.”
What wasn’t Rowland’s decision, was leaving Mahindra mid-season, as he was keen to end season nine “in a good way” before departing. Being dropped from the team ahead of the Jakarta double-header came as a huge shock to the Briton, who was informed of the outfit’s decision “at relatively short notice”.
Despite being surprised by Mahindra’s decision, it didn’t impact the driver too much, as he “had plans up my sleeve anyway”.
“On the other hand, that was not my decision,” he revealed, in regard to leaving mid-season.
“I wanted to finish the season in a good way, but I didn’t have the chance to do that anymore. It was a bit of a surprise and came at relatively short notice, but all the better. I had plans up my sleeve anyway. I’m in a better position now and much happier.”
Having departed Mahindra mid-season, Rowland has had time to take a step back from Formula E, to ensure that he’s entering the sport’s centurion campaign in the right frame of mind.
Going back to Nissan – he competed for them from season five to seven – does seem like a smart move, given that he’s enjoyed plenty of success with the side. For the first time in his Formula E career, he’s even now the older team-mate, with Sacha Fenestraz only being 24 years old.
Nissan started season nine slowly but grew in stature towards the end of the first year of the Gen3 era, with their powertrain certainly being strong over a single lap in qualifying.
Being back in an environment he’s previously thrived in should work to Rowland’s advantage, with him believing that the switch from Mahindra to Nissan has saved his career in the all-electric series. In Formula E, it’s very easy for a driver to become “forgotten very quickly”, something which made Rowland realise that he needed to quit Mahindra and return “home”.
“Time will tell, but I firmly believe in it,” admitted Rowland. “Otherwise I wouldn’t have been so convinced to leave the situation I was in.
“If you don’t perform in a racing series like Formula E for two or three years, then you are forgotten very quickly. So I had to make that decision, be brave. In the end, it paid off.”