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Mexico penalty adds to di Grassi title defence misery

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Mexico penalty adds to di Grassi title defence misery
By:
Feb 27, 2018, 11:57 AM

Audi's defending Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi will take another 10-place grid penalty at the Mexico ePrix, following a change of inverter after his Santiago stoppage.

Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler on the drivers parade
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler

Di Grassi is the only full-time driver in FE this season who has yet to score a point, after suffering multiple problems across the first four races.

Mexico will be the second race in a row di Grassi has had a grid penalty, and the third race in a row Audi has changed the inverter.

That means di Grassi will need something of a repeat of his remarkable back-to-front victory last season to secure a good result.

"At the moment, we're going through a tough time in our young Formula E history," said Audi Sport Abt team principal Allan McNish.

"But we are as determined as ever and will continue to push to the maximum with Daniel [Abt] and Lucas in spite of the current challenges.

"We all know how unpredictable a race day can be in Formula E – Lucas' spectacular victory last year showed that well."

No reliability fix for Mexico

Audi is now "confident that we've found both the cause and a solution" of di Grassi's reliability problems, according to head of motorsport Dieter Gass.

However, Gass claims that an FIA regulation means the team cannot implement the change until the Punta del Este round in March.

That means that for this week's race in Mexico di Grassi will need to run the powertrain specification that has been problem-hit so far.

"Unfortunately, the FIA regulations do not allow us to implement the changes until a 30-day period has expired," said Gass.

"Although we're obviously not happy about this situation, we are optimistic that the permanent track characteristics, much like in pre-season testing, do not exaggerate any problems."

Audi and di Grassi ran without problems in pre-season testing at Valencia, where the team racked up more mileage than any other.

Gass's comments suggest that the issue has been exacerbated by the bumpy street circuits that make up the FE race calendar.

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