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Di Grassi’s Berlin Pace Drop-Off Unresolved

Mystery of di Grassi’s pace drop-off in Berlin continues with no steering problem found…

Photo: Formula E

Audi has been unable to find a specific issue with the car in which Lucas di Grassi lost pace en route to a second-place finish in the Berlin E-Prix earlier this month.

The Brazilian believed he had a possible steering problem on his second Audi e-tron FE04 but a detailed investigation by the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team, led by Formula E Project Leader Tristan Summerscale, has revealed no problems with the steering.

Di Grassi made up several seconds on the mandatory pit stop in Berlin and exited the pits on the tail of his teammate Daniel Abt who led with half of the race still remaining.

However, instead of the expected intra-team fight in the second phase of the race, di Grassi fell steadily and consistently back, taking the checkered flag 6.7 seconds behind winner Abt.

The reigning champion’s pace dropped off dramatically on lap 28, two laps after he set his fastest lap of 1:12.675.

By comparison, Daniel Abt set the overall fastest lap of the event on the very same lap as di Grassi set his personal best with a 1:12.409, but unlike his teammate he was able to then continue lapping in the low 1:13 bracket gaining several seconds over his rival in the process.

“Something felt strange possibly in the steering,” di Grassi told e-racing365 after the race.

“It was not right and maybe the rack was damaged or maybe it was something else, but for whatever reason the car was not capable of matching Daniel today.”

Drivers are known to be extremely sensitive to small variations in their cars, especially at a circuit such as Tempelhof where the abrasive track surface and sensitive Michelin tires create unique characteristics for the vehicle dynamics.

Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler is chasing down Techeetah for the Season Four Teams’ title and now sits just 44 points adrift of its rival.

“It will be hard to do it but we will give it a really good go,” Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team principal Allan McNish told e-racing365.

“We weren’t quick in New York last year but the good news is that the majority of circuits we have gone back to this season we have been quite a bit faster.

“Both of our drivers are performing better than ever so we will see how it develops but we are aiming to maximize every single points in the remaining three [races].”

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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