At the ePrix in the heart of Paris ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport experienced a day to forget. Having most recently clinched three podium positions in a row, the team, for the first time since May 2015, scored no points in a Formula E race. In three weeks time the squad’s home rounds will be held in Berlin, giving the team the chance to quicly make up for today
“Consider it over and done with and look ahead”. This is how vice-champion Lucas di Grassi, who as the runner-up in the standings and last year’s winner at Paris retired, scored no points and was forced to watch winner Sébastien Buemi gain further ground in the overall classification, summed up the event in a nutshell. After the first half of the season the Brazilian now has a 43-point deficit.
Having started only from position 13 after a difficult qualifying, Lucas di Grassi became entangled in a collision with a rival on lap 16 and lost a few positions. Subsequently, following the mandatory pit stop with the car change, his team sent him back out too early, which earned the South American a drive-through penalty. In pursuit of the fastest race lap di Grassi finally touched the wall and was forced to retire – finishing his first race out of the points this season.
“This was absolutely a day to forget. Everything that could have gone wrong with me and the team went wrong”, says Lucas di Grassi. “Obviously, we’re now going to do a decent analysis, but then we’ll shrug it off, hold our heads up high and attack again. Our home round with two races in Germany is coming up. Our aim is to come back even stronger. We’ve shown more than once that we can do that”.
That Team Director Hans-Jürgen Abt had to give some encouragement to his two drivers after the race is understandable. “Obviously, we’re all in low spirits at the moment – the drivers as well as all the engineers and mechanics. But we’ve had many great successes and are going to get over a setback like the one we had today as well. I hope that now we’ve used up all the misfortune for this season and will strike back soon”.
The next stop on Formula E’s world tour will be ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport’s home round in Berlin. The event at the former Tempelhof airport will be a ‘double header’: the fans are going to witness two identical race days on Saturday and Sunday with free practice, qualifying and the race. Lucas di Grassi and ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport continue to rank in second place of the drivers’ and teams’ classifications. 58 points, including additional points, will be awarded in Berlin.
Lucas Di Grassi is sponsored by Qualcomm, Aethra, KNM, BlueFox and Mumm