India is unlikely to make its Formula E debut until at least 2019, according to Mahindra Racing chairman Dr Pawan Goenka.
Mahindra has been pushing for a Formula E race in India since the inception of the series in 2014, and was confident of securing a slot in season 4 of the all-electric championship.
The Mumbai-based manufacturer also received a letter of intent from the Delhi government, pledging support for a race on the streets of the Indian capital.
However, with no promoter turning up to bear the cost of the event and Mahindra’s own attention turning towards the performance of its fledgling racing team, plans to bring the series to the country have been put on the backburner.
“We have sort of a desire to bring one of the races to India. We did some work initially [but it] hasn’t really moved enough,” Goenka told reports including Motorsport.com.
“We have looked at Delhi [as a possible venue] because Delhi is the one which will attract most crowd, especially international crowd. And infrastructure and hotels are all there in Delhi.
“If you do it in Delhi you have to do in India Gate [in Central Delhi], it doesn’t make sense to do it anywhere else. And to get approval to do something in India Gate is not an easy thing to do.
“We have talked to government of india at the city level and central level. We are working on it. But it won’t happen in season 4 obviously, it probably won’t happen in season 5 [2018/19].
“We’ll see we can do anything. The [Formula E] organisers are very keen. India has a fairly large viewership. Thanks partly to our participation and performance.”
Indian driver not at the cost of winning
Mahindra fielded Karun Chandhok in the first season of Formula E but no Indian driver has raced or tested for the outfit since then.
Goenka revealed that his squad has eyes on several budding Indian racers, but does not want to compromise its driver line-up for the sake of having someone from its home country.
“Nothing will be more exciting for us if we could win a race with an Indian driver,” he said. “However, winning comes first so we cannot compromise our chances of winning just in order to put Indian drivers.
“ So we have to see and we are watching couple of drivers who are good in whatever circuit they are running right now. And we are watching them.”