Reigning Formula E champion Lucas Di Grassi has not yet given up on his title defence, insisting he will continue to fight until it’s mathematically impossible to retain it.
After failing to score points in any of the opening four races, Di Grassi finally got his season up and running with a second place finish in Punta Del Este. After a string of car failures hampered his early season progress, Di Grassi is optimistic that the Audi team has finally turned a corner.
“[Punta Del Este] was the first race of the season that I didn’t have either the car breaking down or a penalty,” he said. “Either we had a mechanical problem or a penalty from the race before, but Punta Del Este was the first one that we had a clean weekend. We made the modifications to the parts we were having problems with, and the whole race ran smoothly.
“It’s very difficult to approach [racing] with a long-term view. Every race I do I try to win it. That was the same last year with the championship; if I thought about the championship that I was 46 points behind it would have never worked,” he added.
“I am tenth in the championship, but it doesn’t matter; the best I can do is to win every race from now to the end, and if I do that I will probably be in the top three in the championship. Of course, it’s difficult and unlikely that happens, but it’s the maximum goal we can aim for.
After retiring only once from 12 races last season, Audi’s reliability woes mean Di Grassi has failed to reach the flag in four of the six races so far this season. But despite being 88 points behind championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne, Di Grassi has no plans to write the season off just yet.
“As long as there are still mathematical possibilities we are going to fight. Maybe what happened to me in these six races might happen to JEV. Maybe he breaks a finger, and he can’t do the next races, or his car has a problem for three races in a row,” he said.
“There is no giving up until the chance is gone. It’s unrealistic, possible but unrealistic. What is possible is that we have a car to be on the podium every race and that’s what we need to do.
With Audi taking full control during the off-season, many expected a second successive championship win would follow fo Di Grassi. Despite having a ‘faster car’ as Di Grassi explains, the team has not been able to convert that pace into results.
“The team that won the championship was pretty good. There were a lot of changes when Audi took over, but the car is faster. Winning a championship last year with the car I had was a bit of a miracle. This year we have a much faster car, but we are not converting that into points,” he explains.
“It’s not a coincidence. We pushed the limits of every component in the drivetrain to make it better. We did all the testing that you can do, the car was reliable, and then, unfortunately [the inverter which failed] is homologated, so you have to request a change, and we lost four races out of six.
“One race I was [running in] third, one I was second, another I was fourth so we would have finished from these races, at least three or four races on the podium.
Image Credit: Michelin Motorsport
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