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Di Grassi Calls for Qualifying Races

Lucas di Grassi calls for qualifying races to be considered in future Formula E weekends…

Photo: Formula E

Reigning ABB FIA Formula E Champion Lucas di Grassi says he would like to see qualifying races before the main E-Prixs in future seasons.

The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver has suggested a similar format to what is used at the annual Macau Grand Prix implemented in the all-electric championship.

“I would have a qualifying race, that is my opinion,” di Grassi told e-racing365. “I think for an event like Formula E, which is runs over just one day with one 50-minute race, it is not enough.”

The Brazilian thinks that doing away with qualifying would not impact the spectacle of an E-Prix and that fans want more racing in place of qualifying.

Di Grassi is known not to be a fan of the current qualifying format which sees drivers run in group of five based on their championship standings.

These groups are then drawn in a lottery to see who qualifies at what times.

“I would scrap qualifying all together,” he said. “Very few people watch anyway and I would do a qualifying race during the time of which we have the qualifying session now.

“So you have less free practice and you have qualifying in the morning, then a qualifying race and then the race which only counts, like in Macau.

“Instead of having an hour of qualifying you just have Free Practice 1, then instead of Free Practice 2 have qualifying.

“Qualifying then becomes a qualifying race and the race becomes still the race.”

The Brazilian believes that an additional start and qualifying race would go down well with spectators and TV audiences.

“It would be same timetable, but people see two starts, they see more action, and more to enjoy for the people who spend the day at our event.

“I am sure TV broadcasters would prefer that too.”

While the risk of damaging the car during in the qualifying race could result in smaller grids for the main E-Prix, di Grassi doesn’t believe this is too much of a problem.

“You can damage the car in qualifying and not be ready for the race right now anyway,” he explained.

“Then something can happen in the race and you score no points.

“It is part of the game, so you need to be a little bit more careful about how you drive and just need to be more precise.”

FIA President Jean Todt admitted the idea of more racing would be good but believes the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY, which will debut as a support series during Season Five, will deliver that anyway.

“It is a difficult question. We may have some technical constraints like the time of recharging for example. But I would say that the moment the format is good,” he told e-racing365.

“Maybe for the weekend format to include one more race it would be good but anyway this is going to happen with the new Jaguar Trophy.”

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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