Lucas di Grassi: Audi have nothing to gain in F1
Audi Formula E driver Lucas di Grassi claims the manufacturer “gains more in Formula E” than it would in Formula One.
His comments come after Dr Helmut Marko recently launched a scathing attack on the ABB FIA FE Championship.
Marko claimed that the electric racing series was not on Red Bull’s agenda because they were “racing purists”.
He also branded Formula E “a marketing excuse from the automotive industry to distract from the diesel scandal” with cars that were “so slow”.
Several major manufacturers have entered the series since its debut in 2014, with names such as Audi, Jaguar, Nissan and BMW all on the current entry list.
Speaking to Autosport, di Grassi, who spent a season in Formula 1 back in 2010 with Virgin, said that Audi were very satisfied to date with their FE experience.
“Audi gains more here in Formula E than in Formula 1,” he explained.
“The fact is that every car of Audi in the future will be electric, and we need to understand which factors are limiting us, which are the best materials and how to develop software to control the engine.
“We have all this development of the electric car that will be used in the future.
“[With] the combustion engine you already know how it works. The interesting thing is discovering how we can make electric cars run fast, [be] more efficient and more cheap.
“This is what we do here. Not only Audi, but everyone. So, this is much more of a commercial development than Formula 1.”
di Grassi also dismissed Dr Marko’s “racing purists” argument as “false” and that he should stick to “racing horses” if his views on Formula E are what he claims them to be.
“Dr Marko said that he is a ‘racing purist’. For me it is an argument [that is] a bit false, because it depends a lot from what this means for people,” said di Grassi.
“What exactly is this thought? [Does he] defend races with horses instead of cars?
“If he is a real racing purist, he should defend horse races. Or races with just combustion engines, without hybrid systems as F1 is nowadays.
“Or cars with full manual gearboxes, without paddleshift, [which is] how it is nowadays in F1 – it is an open argument.
“This is more his personal opinion of saying: ‘look, I don’t want to compete in Formula E, I’m too old for this and want to do combustion races in F1’.
“F1 is still the most important category of the world of motorsport, nobody can deny this. But the future of the manufacturers is electric.”
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