Di Grassi impressed by "overwhelming" new Formula E car in first tests

Published on 30 Mar 2018 13:17

Reigning Formula E champion Lucas Di Grassi has described the new Formula E car as "a huge step forward" after the first test he had at the Monteblanco circuit in Spain. Seven Formula E manufacturers have participated in a two-day test at the Spanish circuit this week with the intention to test the new dubbed Gen 2 car for 2018/19 Formula E season.

The new car was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month. The Gen 2 car will be capable of completing a full race distance with only one charge, removing the mid-race car mandatory swaps that have been part of Formula E since the championship was founded in 2014.

Audi, DS, Jaguar, Venturi, Mahindra, Nissan and Dragon were the seven manufacturers who ran the new-spec cars, while BMW and NIO were absent for the test. Lucas Di Grassi, reigning champion of the series, got his first chance with the new Audi e-tron FE05 and expressed his joy.

"My first impression was overwhelming - the car is a huge step forward in every respect,” di Grassi said. “We drove a lot, were able to focus on setup work and gathered plenty of data for the engineers. I feel that the first test was a resounding success – now I’m all the more excited about finally being able to drive the car on a city circuit.” he added.

Allan McNish, who works as the team principal of the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler added that his outfit had completed the first test without significant problems: "We did a lot of kilometers straight away without any major problems – which is the most important thing at the first rollout and good news for the whole team, trackside and at Audi in Neuburg." McNish explained 

“Lucas’ feedback was extremely positive, which makes us optimistic going forward. We know we still have a lot of work to do in terms of testing and development before traveling to the first race of the new season and competing with our rivals for the first time.” he added. 


Paul Athes

Replies (9)
SE calle.itw 30 Mar 2018 13:590
Posts: 5885
I think its already too late. FE went in far too early. By the time EV is mature for racing, F1 will do the switch and will remain the pinnacle of motor racing, and then FE will fade from being irrelevant to being utterly irrelevant. I've gone through the effort of digging up and watching old races, but "Sterdust is not impressed. Sterdust is left wanting". You only have one release. FE blew their load too early, and now all thats left is a long, awkward good bye, and chances are that no improvement will help that.
Posts: 996
I disagree with that notion. FE will have the market since they are the early adopters. It looks like F1 wants to hang on to hybrid tech too long. If they put another 5 years on 2020 than FE will have established itself as the defacto EV series. It will be interesting to see want they do with F1.
SE calle.itw 30 Mar 2018 16:01+1
Posts: 5885
Being an early adopter doesnt mean you will be the one to perfect the concept or that you will survive a rival series. History has shown this over and over. F1 hang on to hybrid because EV isnt viable yet, as shown by FE.
Posts: 996
In cases like the this it means that you establish yourself with the locations and suppliers. All the major brands are coming or are in FE something that hasn't been been done by F1. Now being able to compete a whole race distance with one battery makes it a race as per normal. Hybrid is now dead tech and the cost and benefits of driving EV is just about right.
SE calle.itw 01 Apr 2018 09:020
Posts: 5885
But that hasnt hindered them from accumulating pretty high debts according to Forbes. During 2017, they built up a debt of 110M USD, and backers had to feed the series 70M USD extra. Thats still quite a big loss for a fresh series like this. And viewing has decreased by quite a lot since 2015. They can have all the manufacturer support in the world, but that doesnt matter in the slightest if nobody is watching. And to say that hybrid is dead is incorrect. In F1, I think its close to reaching its limits, thats true, but its still a more viable option than EV. EVs are still too inefficient, to the point that a regular mid-small size petrol burner can be more environmentally friendly than your average EV, according to a recent Norweigan study. Especially if resources used to produce the cars are taken into consideration.
Posts: 533
In many instances, first mover advantage is overrated. Especially these days. That doesn't mean that you can't succeed being a first mover. You absolutely can - but it's tough.

Like Calle said, they went in too early. The technology is nowhere near ready, and you only get one chance to make a first impression. Many "customers" will be lost for good once they are disappointed.

Another thing is the infrastructure of the organisation/series. F1 is light years ahead in that aspect. I'm willing to bet once Liberty feels they have F1 moving in a direction they are pleased with, they will turn their attention to F1 Electric. By then, the technology will probably have matured a little bit.

On a semi-related note, a company called Procter & Gamle pretty much specialise in second mover advantage. It's a real thing, and very effective if you have the infrastructure.
SE calle.itw 31 Mar 2018 12:030
Posts: 5885
Exactly. Also a good point about their infrastructure. And even then, F1's infrastructure has only improved with Liberty on board.

Another thing worth mentioning: FE is already having severe losses. Forbes published an article in July last year detailing that FE had a loss of 110 million USD, causing investors to put 70M USD into the sport to cover for the losses. And according to F1broadcasting.co, FE has bled viewers for two years now. Maybe the new cars might help, but I think its too late. Also, it might be prudent of them to avoid hosting races at the same day as F1; going head to head with the most dominant motorsport isnt a sound idea.
Posts: 421
I'm warming up more and more to FE. If these new cars are a step forward in handling and speed, while at the same time not being overly dependent on aero, making overtaking and close racing a possibility then 2018/19 could be a pretty good year for FE. I would like to see more racing circuits on their calendar and not just street circuits. Although it would be cool to see FE at street circuits such as Macau or Pau, but perhaps those circuits are not suitable for FE.
BE krommenaas 31 Mar 2018 11:06+1
Posts: 155
They avoid actual racing circuits like the plague because the lap times would reveal just how slow FE is.

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