Formula E champion di Grassi says Audi reliability woe 'very weird'

Lucas di Grassi admits Audi's reliability nightmare that has left him with no points from the first three races of the 2017/18 Formula E season is "very weird" and "really frustrating"

Formula E champion di Grassi says Audi reliability woe 'very weird'

Audi Sport Abt completed more mileage than any other team in official pre-season testing at Valencia, where its reliability and pace laid down an ominous marker.

But di Grassi was 17th and 14th in Hong Kong thanks to reliability problems, then retired from fourth in Marrakech after suffering a loss of power.

That came after a powertrain fault ruined his superpole lap in qualifying and led to Audi having to change the inverter for the race, using its one allowed penalty-free change of that component for the season in the process.

Di Grassi confirmed the in-race problem occurred on his other car, which means both his e-tron FE04s suffered faults in Marrakech.

"I started having some cuts on power the lap before, and then at one point the car just stopped," he told Autosport.

"We don't know if it's the same as Hong Kong, we don't know if it's the same as qualifying, but it has been a very tough beginning of the season.

"We've done more miles in testing than everybody else, without any problems.

"So, it's very weird that suddenly three out of three races we have reliability problems.

"We know that the car is fast and it's even more frustrating because the car is fast but not reliable.

"We have to work hard to make sure this doesn't happen anymore."

Title fightback a 'really, really big challenge'

The defending FE champion built his title-winning 2016/17 campaign on a foundation of consistent point-scoring against arch-rival Sebastien Buemi.

However, di Grassi is now 54 points behind championship leader Felix Rosenqvist, who earned his second win in three races in Marrakech.

"What makes it really frustrating is because championships suddenly become very, very difficult," said di Grassi.

"To be honest it will be extremely difficult and a really, really big challenge to be able to fight back for the championship win.

"It's not impossible, it's never impossible especially with Abt, but we need to sort out these problems, we need to start really scoring points, we need to start having consistent results."

Rosenqvist said it was still "too early" to think di Grassi was out of contention.

"As you saw last year he seems to be able to perform miracles when it's needed so I wouldn't rule anyone out," he said.

"It just takes us to score a double zero in a weekend and him to win two races and he's back in the game."

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