Lucas di Grassi and the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team came so close to pulling off a genius tactical move during Sunday’s race two of the London E-Prix, but it ultimately ended in disappointment and in disqualification.
Whilst running eighth, di Grassi headed for the pit lane behind the safety car and came out in the lead. However, the stewards looked at his pit stop and deemed that he had not come to a complete halt in his pit box, and as such he was handed a drive-through penalty.
The team did not inform di Grassi of the penalty and, as a result, the Brazilian was disqualified from the final result, meaning Audi left London without adding to their points tally in Sunday’s race. They had started the weekend with a fifth and sixth place in race one.
“That was a good strategy by the team, which found an opportunity in the regulations and took advantage of it,” said di Grassi. “Given the close standings in the title fight, we didn’t want to leave any opportunity unused.”
Team Principal Allan McNish says the team will accept the punishments handed to them after it was clear that they did not stop in the pit box enough to warrant it being called a pit stop.
“Let’s be honest: It was a disappointing day for us today,” said McNish. “We tried a strategy move with Lucas that was allowed by the regulations and that other teams have done in the past, but unfortunately it didn’t work out one hundred percent and we accept the FIA stewards decisions.
“René was on his way to the front and was robbed of points by a collision.”
René Rast was on course for a good haul of points on Sunday, but the German saw his race end early after a collision with Sébastien Buemi, a clash he feels was firmly the fault of the Nissan e.dams driver.
“Formula E once again showed its crazy side this weekend,” said Rast. “First changing weather on Saturday and then a whole series of tough racing on Sunday, which also cost me the chance of more points.
“You can only put that behind you and look ahead: In three weeks, it’s about performing again in Berlin.”