In a season of many records and victories, Lucas may extend extraordinary landmark in Formula E
In search of another record. This is how Lucas Di Grassi begins the 2018/2019 World Championship season, which starts next Saturday (15th) with a race at Ad Diriyah, on the outskirts of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. It will be the first of the 13 races to be held in 12 cities on five continents by the end of the tournament on July 14th, when there will be a double round in New York. The event also marks the beginning of the Brazilian’s fight for the second tittle of a series of which Lucas remains the main driver in history.
With a title of champion (2016-2017), two championship seconds (2015-2016 and 2017-2018) and a third place (2014-2015), Di Grassi holds most of the series records – including the incredible sequence of seven podiums that can be expanded in Riyadh (see table below). In addition to having the best record among all the drivers who have competed in the Formula E World Championship, Lucas has also scored more points (611) and podiums (27) and is also the only competitor – alongside Englishman Sam Bird – to win in all championship seasons.
“I start this season with confidence,” says the 2016-2017 world champion. “We will certainly have a difficult year, with more teams at the highest level of the grid, capable of fighting for victory in any race and also of challenging for the title. But we worked well in the preseason and are confident that we will be among the teams that can win races”, added the Brazilian, who defends the team Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler.
Victory in Valencia – These conclusions were drawn in the October collective tests – the last allowed by the FIA - held at Valencia, Spain. On occasion, the eleven championship teams confronted their new second-generation cars and assessed their potential. On the last day, a race simulation was performed, with victory of Di Grassi, at the wheel of the Audi e-Tron FE05. The Brazilian took the lead from Englishman Alexander Sims (BMW) in the last corner and won by only 0s109. “As curious as it may sound, that race does not mean anything, but it’s also a good sign,” says Lucas. “It means that we are likely to be competitive, but we know that the teams were not 100% ready and probably did not show everything they had up their sleeves. The fact is that several teams have made many strides since the last race of 2018 and we will have a year of competition at the maximum level. ”
With the debut of the new car – the second project in the series history – the Saudi race marks the beginning of a new era in F-E. A key point is the technological advance that has given the batteries more autonomy: races now will no longer have the mandatory pitstop for car exchange. In addition, taking advantage of the possibilities of administering the engines via electronic technology, the series created the “attack mode”. In other words, when a driver enters a certain area of the track – called the activation zone – the power of his engine can rise to 225 kW (306 hp). The number of activations and their duration will be determined by the FIA, according to criteria such as track dimensions and technical characteristics.
Speed - The power of racing cars will rise from 180 kW (240 hp) to 200 kW (270 hp) and the cars maximum speed is now 280 km / h – an impressive speed when it comes to street tracks. The fan boost will continue to give the drivers elected by the online audience the right to raise the power of their cars to 250 kW (335 hp) in a short stretch of track, but only once in the second half of the race. Until then determined by the number of laps, the races will have the duration of 45 minutes + one lap.
“The fan boost was already a surprise element for strategists and drivers, but attack mode will bring much more reasoning and daring into the team’s test planning,” Di Grassi said. “It’s an extra challenge, that we all need to see how will work along the next races.”
Tough season – Anyone looks at the result of the 2017/2018 season of Lucas Di Grassi, when he was runner-up, does not imagine that the Brazilian was forced to quit the four first races due to tech problems in his car. And as a result reached the first third of the season with zero points, while the leader of the moment, Felix Rosenquist (Sweden), already had 62 and the future champion, Jean-Éric Vergne (France), had reached 52. From the fifth round, with the repair of the car, Lucas was able to finish races and set the current record of consecutive podiums, with two wins and five second places. Di Grassi still recorded four best laps in the period – the most among the all drivers.
It is worth noticing as well Lucas’s exceptional debut season at the competitive Brazilian Stock Car Series. Of the 12 events, he did not participate in two, quit races due to mechanical problems in other seven events and won the three remaining. Lucas finished the year with the feeling that he could fight for the title in 2019, but will not be able to compete in his homeland main series due to commitments to F-E and Roborace – the championship of which he is the chief executive.
DI GRASSI’S FORMULA E RECORD OF CONSECUTIVE PODIUMS (7)
6th Round- 17/03 – Punta del Este, second place
7th Round – 14/04 – Rome, second place
8th Round – 04/28 – Paris, second place
9th Round – 19/05 – Berlin, second place
10th Round – 10/06 – Zurich, victory
11th Round – 14/07 – New York – victory
12th Round – 14/07 – New York – second place
LUCAS’ NUMBERS FORMULA E
- Seasons: 4
- Titles: 1 (2016/2017)
- Championships second places: 2 (2015/2016 and 2017/2018)
- Third places in the championship: 1 (2014/2015)
- Victories: 8 (Beijing / 2014, Putrajaya / 16, Long Beach / 16, Paris / 16, Mexico / 17, Montreal / 17, Zurich / 18 and New York / 18)
- Podiums: 27 (all time record)
- Consecutive podiums: 7 (record in 2018: Punta Del Este, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Zurich, New York-1/18 and New York-2/18)