Lucas di Grassi appointed Formula E development driver
|By Michele Lostia and Sam Tremayne||Wednesday, September 5th 2012, 12:35 GMT|
Lucas di Grassi has been appointed the official development driver of the FIA's new Formula E championship.
The Brazilian, also a Pirelli F1 test driver, has already driven the electric car series' prototype car, which has been designed by Formulec.
"Formula E is the future of racing," di Grassi said following his test at the Circuit de L'Eure near Paris.
"Both the top speed and acceleration of the cars were great and I believe this car will reach even higher levels of performance levels in years to come.
"The Formula E prototype is a racing car. [It] isn't easy to drive, [so] it will be a great challenge to race it on the streets.
"One of the most striking things when you drive the prototype is the noise. There is sound, lower than combustion cars and of a different nature, a futuristic sound.
"The aero noise can be heard very clearly at high speeds too, it is a completely new experience.
"I believe this will change the perception of people regarding electric cars."
Addax owner Alejandro Agag, one of a consortium of international investors taking charge of the series' commercial rights, said di Grassi would play an active role in the development of not just the car but also the series that is scheduled to start in 2014.
"For the championship, it is extremely important to have a driver like Lucas di Grassi working with us," he explained.
"He is probably the most experienced development driver in motor sport.
"His input is extremely valuable as having fast and reliable cars is the biggest challenge we face as a championship.
"His knowledge and experience is also key as we visit potential host cities for races.
"To have a driver's point of view is crucial when selecting the area within the city that will host the race."
Asked about the sport's changing regulations, two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso said he was reluctant to embrace the growing trend toward electric power.
"I normally like technology, I like quick cars and driving the fastest cars in the world, and that must be Formula 1 cars," he said.
"So, all the regulations that go backwards in this sense are a shame from a driver's point of view.
"Now, when you hear about future regulations, electric cars, and rules like that, it's always a bit of a surprise and a bit of displeasure, so we'll see what happens."