Stadium atmosphere, a mega-city, enthusiastic fans and a wide track for overtaking: the e-Prix in the heart of Mexico City next Saturday is one of hte highlights of the Formula E calendar. Lucas di Grassi, from ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, sits in second place in the driver ranking
Sébastien Buemi and his Renault works team are the combination to beat at the moment. The German ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team with its two drivers Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi lead the chasing pack in the international field. The German-Brazilian duo has stood on the podium 19 times in the 25 races held so far. Therefore the goal for the round in Mexico is clear: arrive perfectly prepared, attack, take advantage of even the smallest mistake.
The 2.093-kilometre circuit is located in the heart of Mexico City and is part of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, where Formula 1 also makes an appearance. Particularly impressive is the section between the grandstands, which provide a stadium-like atmosphere. Unlike Formula 1, the Formula E circuit runs through not only the stadium, but winds along the grandstands as well. The podium ceremony also takes place on a stage in front of the grandstands, which were practically full last year – an emotional highlight for racers and fans alike.
Di Grassi enjoys the circuit. “I like it very much because the track has several challenges. It is the highest circuit in the world, which leads to less cooling, less downforce and also a tricky physical challenge due to the lack of oxygen. But the most impressive thing about Mexico City is the atmosphere with the enthusiastic fans, which is unique in the motorsport world”, he says.
Tests, meticulous analysis of the data collected, optimisation of the software, working on the perfect set-up and preparing the driver in the simulator – even during the season, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport leaves nothing to chance.
Last season, Lucas suffered a setback after clinching the victory: his car was 1,5 kilos underweight and his win – and the 28 points scored – was taken away. “Although I lost the win due to a mistake that my team made, I got to enjoy probably my greatest podium celebration beforehand. These moments and emotions in front of all the fans will stay forever. Mistakes happen in motorsport when you go to the limits. But for us they were not discouraging but gave the team and me even more motivation. The best proof is that we won the next two races in Long Beach and Paris”, Di Grassi told.
He expects to have a new chance to celebrate on the top of the podium at the stadium that has became the Hermanos Rodriguez Autodrome. “I could literally feel the energy in the stadium and I have never experienced anything like this before. The special thing about Formula E is that not only can you see the fans but you can also hear the crowd cheering when you enter the stadium”, he finished.
The race starts 7 pm (Brazilian time) this Saturday (April 1st) and will be broadcast in Brazil by Fox Sports 2 from 6 pm on.