Lucas di Grassi says that the dive into the pits that put him in the lead of today’s Formula E London E-Prix was “clearly permitted” by the regulations, although the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver accepted that the penalty subsequently issued to him, for failing to come to a full stop in his pit, was correctly applied.
Di Grassi was found by the stewards to have illegally taken the race lead by driving through the pit lane — and, crucially, failing to come to a stop in his pit box — under safety car conditions on lap 12. Di Grassi did not serve the penalty — which he says he was not informed of by his team during the race — and crossed the finish line first, having led more than half the race distance. However, he was disqualified from the results, with the win going instead to Mahindra Racing’s Alex Lynn.
“Everything we did today was clearly permitted by the rules of the championship,” di Grassi said. “We only could do it if the safety car was in a lower speed than the pit-lane speed limit, otherwise I would lose positions. It was a bold, risky move but I’m fully behind my team when the decision was taken.
“The penalty was correctly applied because the vehicle (the wheels did reach 0) didn’t go to full 0 km/h after the data was analyzed in detail, as it was so close. I was only informed of the penalty after the checkered flag, via radio.”
The disqualification for di Grassi completed a dismal day for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, whose other car driven by Rene Rast was eliminated in a crash and finished one spot higher than the last-placed di Grassi. The results dropped Rast to 10th in points and di Grassi to 14th, while the Audi works team is sixth in the teams’ standings heading into next month’s doubleheader finale in Berlin.