Lucas di Grassi: Berlin Formula E schedule will create "a big mess"

Lucas di Grassi says the unusual timetable at ABB FIA Formula E's race in Berlin this weekend is "a big mess" that could "severely" hinder the championship leaders in qualifying

Lucas di Grassi: Berlin Formula E schedule will create "a big mess"

The 2019 edition of the Berlin race features a unique split timetable, with the two practice sessions taking place on Friday, qualifying scheduled for first thing on Saturday morning and the race starting at 1pm rather than the traditional 4pm slot.

The event timetable has been altered to avoid a clash with the build-up to the German football cup final, which is taking place at the Olympiastadion in Berlin also on Saturday.

But the change means there is no on-track running - all of the Jaguar I-PACE eTrophy sessions apart from the race are taking place on Friday - during the morning ahead of qualifying.

Many drivers therefore feel the arrangement will leave the group one runners - the first five drivers in the standings, Jean-Eric Vergne, Andre Lotterer, Robin Frijns, Antonio Felix da Costa, and di Grassi - at a major disadvantage.

"It's a big mess," di Grassi told Autosport, "because the track will not be used from FP2 to qualifying.

"So the track will be completely dirty from the wind and the dust over the night and then you go straight to qualifying.

"Group one will be for sure more affected. It is again the same as we have discussed [before] - group one will be severely impacted by the track conditions

"I actually personally asked the organisation 'could we have like a five-minute/10-minute warm-up?'

"Just to make sure everything is working, clean the track a little bit before qualifying. But they said 'No, the teams agreed [to] not having them'."

But di Grassi added that he still expects the Berlin race to be "very fun", as the wide Tempelhof circuit encourages overtaking.

"Even if you have a bad qualifying you can overtake, there are a lot of points [to get by]," he said.

"The race is [also] very energy efficient - you have to save a lot of energy - so it will be strategic."

Envision Virgin Racing driver Frijns said he does not "have a problem to go out at 8.40 in the morning and do qualifying" but agreed the timetable spilt will hamper the group one runners.

"We will be the ones who clean the track," he continued to Autosport. "And we will have probably the most disadvantaged position.

"Because if you go to groups two, three and four, the track gets better and better.

"And the temperatures immediately go up because it's so cold in the morning. [So] I see us struggling in qualifying."

But DS Techeetah's reigning champion Vergne said he thinks the timetable change is "great".

"I like it - I think it will be cooler," he told Autosport.

"I love Formula E for this - it pushes the boundaries of the drivers all the time with the tracks we're going to, with the timetable we have, with the kind of difficulties we have to overtake."


shares
comments
Why even Porsche cannot be certain of FE success

Previous article

Why even Porsche cannot be certain of FE success

Next article

Berlin Formula E: Title-chasing Lotterer tops practice from Mortara

Berlin Formula E: Title-chasing Lotterer tops practice from Mortara
Load comments
Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive Plus

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 Plus

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
The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21 Plus

The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was one without a narrative for much of the season, with no single car or driver able to break away from the pack. That makes choosing a top 10 especially difficult, particularly as the qualifying format meant some worthy performers were unable to enjoy their day in the sun

Formula E
Sep 19, 2021
How Mercedes and De Vries achieved Formula E glory the hard way Plus

How Mercedes and De Vries achieved Formula E glory the hard way

When Nyck de Vries dominated the first race of what would be the most controversial and unpredictable Formula E season to date, it looked as though Mercedes was in for a cakewalk. But as the campaign wore on, the path to a title double became increasingly rocky. Neither driver or team would be assured of the crown until the closing stages of the very final race on a weekend of struggle in Berlin

Formula E
Sep 17, 2021
The Formula E 'loan' deal that will keep its original missionary winning Plus

The Formula E 'loan' deal that will keep its original missionary winning

OPINION: The departure of Audi from Formula E meant its long-time driver Lucas di Grassi would need to find a new berth to stay on the grid. His deal at Venturi Racing will ensure the championship's first-ever race winner will remain competitive into the final year of the current Gen2 ruleset - although it may not be a long-term fit

Formula E
Sep 15, 2021
The problems laid bare by Mercedes' impending Formula E departure Plus

The problems laid bare by Mercedes' impending Formula E departure

Mercedes' planned withdrawal from Formula E at the end of the 2022 season will contribute to the big hole left by fellow automotive manufacturers Audi and BMW on their departures. Although the team may stick around under a different guise, the exit of the now-reigning teams' champion underlines FE's current issues...

Formula E
Aug 18, 2021
The F1 dilemma facing Mercedes' new world champion Plus

The F1 dilemma facing Mercedes' new world champion

After clinching the Formula E title at the Berlin finale, Nyck de Vries is a driver in demand. Although Mercedes would love to keep a reigning champion at the team, the allure of a Williams F1 drive may be too much for de Vries to ignore should a potential deal come to pass

Formula E
Aug 17, 2021
How de Vries claimed Formula E title glory as Mercedes exit bombshell looms Plus

How de Vries claimed Formula E title glory as Mercedes exit bombshell looms

As Formula E lined up to complete its seventh season at Berlin's Tempelhof Airport, all eyes were on who would be its first official FIA world champion. Despite Nyck de Vries' title lead heading into the weekend looking all but secure, the Dutchman held on - and enjoyed a good dollop of fortune - to secure a championship double for Mercedes

Formula E
Aug 16, 2021