Audi E-tron FE05 #11 (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler), Lucas Di Grassi

F-E: in a chaotic day, Di Grassi leaves the bottom of the grid to score points in Riyadh

Lucas was driver who did most overtaking in Saudi Arabia


In what was probably the most chaotic weekend in Formula E history, Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi was the driver who did more overtakings along the opening round of the 2018/2019 season in Ad Diriyah, outside Saudi Arabia capital Riyadh. Despite this, the result of the race – that saw Lucas start in 18th and arrive in ninth – interrupted the sequence of seven consecutive podiums established by the Brazilian, absolute record in the series.

In a region classified as a desert the rain surprised the organizers by leaving the track without conditions of use, promoting important alterations in the event official practice schedule and the competition. Of the two official practice sessions, one was cancelled and the other substantially reduced. The qualifying was done immediately after the short second practice, which was hampered by several interruptions caused by accidents on the slippery floor. For the qualifying, all competitors were on the track with no time to make major changes in the their cars setup and faced unstable track conditions.

As a result, several drivers did not escape the lottery that was the grid defining session, whose format was also improvised by the organizers to avoid harming the competitors. The Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi was one of them and ended up getting only 11th in the standings. Later, even before the race, a technical discrepancy occurred during the time-outs eventually took from Lucas his best lap time. According to the FIA, there was an error in the calibration of the power allowed in the qualifying, a problem that was caused by wheather instability. And Di Grassi was relegated to 18th place.

In the race, despite the unexpectedly weak performance of the car, Lucas kept calm and came to gain positions. In the middle of the race, the Brazilian still lost the extra power offered by the new mechanism called “attack mode”, due to a red flag that interrupted the race for the removal of a crashed F-E. All in all, despite the difficulties and in face of what was possible to achieve, Di considered the final result relatively positive.

“It was a difficult race, starting from 18th place due to the technical error of Audi. We still managed to reach ninth place and scored a few points. Now we go to Marrakesh renovated – and hopefully without penalties. We will fight for more podiums, “said the 2016/2017 world champion.