Di Grassi proposes qualifying drag races to show "FE is faster than F1"

Lucas di Grassi has pitched a radical Formula E pre-qualifying concept to the FIA, headlined by drag races at landmarks like Buckingham Palace, to showcase cars “faster than Formula 1”. 

Teams are pushing heavily for alterations to the current group system that disadvantages the points leaders, and they want a new format in place for next season - rather than wait for the advent of the Gen3 rules in 2022-23. 

Series boss Jamie Reigle has already confirmed to Motorsport.com that any changes will follow Formula E custom and are “not going to be conventional”, but there is little consensus between the championship, teams and the FIA as to what shape qualifying should take. 

Di Grassi reckons organisers “are not even sure what they want” in respect to whether it is better for, as per this season, 18 drivers to remain in mathematical title contention ahead of the final round or push to create repeat winners who can be “heroes”. 

“The [current] one-lap scenario is probably the worst of all the possibilities, so it needs to change. You [need to] completely think outside of the box," he told Motorsport.com.

The 2016-17 champion di Grassi has come forward with a radically different proposal that would feature drivers drag racing near to major landmarks in the week leading up to a race. 

He explained: “The definition of the groups or some pre-definition of qualifying will be a drag race held one week before the event in the city that we race."  

The Audi driver reckons Formula E should move to better promote the acceleration of electric cars, which is a major headline-grabber in the automotive industry.  

He continued: “What do you need to showcase [the cars]? Fast acceleration. What do the general public understand: they see who arrives first. That's the winner.  

“Imagine you do an event one week before: London Bridge, Times Square, San Francisco. You take the car there and with 100% battery, you can do 100 starts. 

“Imagine you have to do a drag race, four-wheel-drive, 450kWh [600bhp]. The car will accelerate faster than F1, so nobody can say the cars are slow.  

“Then use that to define [the groups] for qualifying or even define the grid. This is something completely out of the box, which is what Formula E should be looking at.  

“You can do it at night, with lights, you can do it in places where you'd never be able to do a race, like in front of Buckingham Palace. You just need walls for a certain straight. 

“It will be about driver reaction time and the difference will be very small. 

"It depends on software, on hardware, on how much you heat the tyres… so many variables. "

Read Also:

While di Grassi admitted his concept was unlikely to come to fruition, despite pitching it to the FIA’s director of Formula E Frederic Bertrand, he cited it as an example of the measures the series should be taking to boost its audience.  

“Nobody's watching qualifying really, so we need to create a little bit more attention. That's what the future of Formula E needs to do.  

“It needs to create entertainment, a simple way of understanding - not attack mode, overusing energy - nobody really understands the whole picture.  

‘[But] the chance of this happening is very low, because people are afraid of big changes.” 

Di Grassi concluded: "The marketing for electric cars is the 0 to 100km/h [sprint]. On this, Formula E can beat Formula 1.  

“At the moment, people have the impression that Formula E cars are slow, easy to drive.  

“We will change completely the perception, which for me is something already positive." 

An aerial view of F1 Live London

An aerial view of F1 Live London

Photo by: Eamonn M. McCormack / Getty Images for Formula 1

shares
comments

Related video

Rast has no interest in DTM return as LMDh stopgap
Previous article

Rast has no interest in DTM return as LMDh stopgap

Next article

Formula E to run Berlin circuit in reverse for season finale

Formula E to run Berlin circuit in reverse for season finale
Load comments
De Vries: Why Formula E title success felt so different to F2 Prime

De Vries: Why Formula E title success felt so different to F2

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was wide open until the final race after its most unpredictable season yet. Eventual champion Nyck de Vries explains why this made his title-winning experience such a different experience to conquering F2 in 2019

Formula E
Dec 7, 2021
Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong Prime

Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong

Formula E welcomes a mix of past, present and future for the 2021-22 season. The old guard facing off against a sprinkling of newcomers, a fresh qualifying format amid a sporting rules shake-up and a range of minor tweaks to the existing all-electric machines are all subplots to the final campaign before the next generation arrives

Formula E
Dec 3, 2021
The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two FE teams Prime

The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two FE teams

Electing not to share data with its competitive customer team would have been a straightforward means of gaining an edge on at least one of Mercedes' Formula E rivals last season. But by reciprocating the relationship forged under its initial HWA guise, when it was a customer to Venturi, both teams have reaped the rewards

Formula E
Nov 30, 2021
How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait Prime

How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait

With its ultra-successful sister team in Formula 1 and a support network providing some of the best minds and resources in the business, Mercedes Formula E team principal Ian James knew his squad had all the winning ingredients. But mixing it together was no easy feat and required key attributes to be grown from within

Formula E
Nov 29, 2021
How Formula E's polarising newcomer Ticktum can prove himself Prime

How Formula E's polarising newcomer Ticktum can prove himself

OPINION: Few figures in racing today divide opinion like Dan Ticktum. The Formula 2 race winner now has the chance to wipe his professional slate clean with his move into Formula E, but it won't be easy at the squad which has brought up the rear for the past three years. Here are the three key criteria he must meet to make a lasting impression on the series.

Formula E
Nov 27, 2021
How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E Prime

How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E

By virtue of its Formula 1 success, Mercedes was expected to rise to power in Formula E before long. That it won both the drivers' and manufacturers' championships this year, after only two seasons as a full works effort, belies a tricky path littered with potential pitfalls

Formula E
Nov 26, 2021
Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive Prime

Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive

OPINION: Circuit racing has traditionally favoured front- or rear-wheel-drive setups, eschewing the equal distribution of power. But for Formula E and other electric-powered series, our columnist believes it’s a perfect fit.

Formula E
Oct 13, 2021
How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success Prime

How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success

The Wolffs have carved their own paths in motorsport, leading their respective teams to success in Formula 1 and Formula E. But the two came together last month as their drivers finished first and second in the FE drivers' championship - a feat they are hugely proud of. In a rare joint interview, they reflect on a remarkable season

Formula E
Sep 21, 2021