Mahindra has long been rumoured to ink a deal with Audi’s former factory team Abt, which is returning to Formula E next year as an independent outfit following the German manufacturer’s shock withdrawal at the end of the 2020/21 season.
Unlike its previous stint in FE from seasons one to seven, where it initially produced its own powertrain before morphing into the works Audi squad, Abt will be sourcing both the hardware and software from an external supplier when Gen3 comes on stream next season.
Abt team boss Thomas Biermaier attended the Rome E-Prix in April earlier this year and was spotted chatting with Mahindra FE chief Dilbagh Gill in the paddock, fuelling rumours about a tie-up between the squad.
Gill has now revealed that he is in discussion with a number of teams for season nine, and remains optimistic about Mahindra's chances of securing a powertrain customer for the first time in the series.
“Mahindra is talking to more than one organisation at this point of time for a customer team and I would say we are relatively confident that we will have a customer team in Gen3,” Gill told Motorsport.com ahead of this Saturday’s inaugural Jakarta E-Prix.
Asked to confirm if Abt is one of the teams he has been talking to, Gill replied: “Yes, we have been talking to Abt and Thomas among others.”
Formula E manufacturers will get additional testing days added to their allocation for supplying powertrains to customers in the Gen3 era, providing them an incentive to collaborate with other teams.
However, Gill says added track time is only part of the reason why Mahindra is keen on expanding its presence on the grid as a manufacturer ahead of a major overhaul in regulations next year.
“It is one of the incentives, but it's not the only decision factor,” explained Gill.
“There are multiple decision factors. One is obviously extra testing. One is extra data working closely with a very successful team from earlier.
“Last but not the least, it's also for us to go out there and work together as four cars on the race track. That part is becoming a model right now in Formula E with every manufacturer.”