New information suggests Mercedes has already begun gathering up intelligence for its potential Formula E entry.
Although Mercedes won’t be able to join Formula E until 2018 at the earliest, a new report from Motorsports.com says Mercedes F1 engineering leads Neil Martin and Steve Clark were present at the Marrakesh ePrix this past weekend. Specifically, the report says the two gentlemen spent most of their time around Indian Formula E team, Mahindra Racing.
The duo wouldn’t comment on their presence or purpose in Marrakesh, but it doesn’t take much of a mental leap to assume they were engaged in collecting information relevant to a future Formula E endeavor. Clark and Martin have worked for both Mercedes and Ferrari throughout their Formula 1 careers.
An agreement Mercedes signed with Formula E in October 2016 confirmed Mercedes isn’t eligible to join the series until its fifth season begins in 2018. Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, said about the potential entry “[Mercedes has] been watching the growth of Formula E with great interest.”
Despite the interest on Mercedes’ end, there doesn’t seem to be a rush on taking the dive into the relatively new racing series. Much like Ferrari, which has also shown interest in Formula E, Mercedes has made clear it’s not interested in joining the series until technological advances allow for a single car format. Currently, drivers have to switch cars midway through the race to complete the ePrix on battery power.
Formula E is currently in its third season, with two of the twelve races out of the way. It’s expected that Mercedes will continue to send resources to Formula E events throughout the year to continue assessing its decision to enter the electric-only racing series.