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Di Grassi: “Clever Cost Control” Needed for Formula E

Lucas di Grassi suggests enhanced cost control measurements in future Formula E rules…

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Lucas di Grassi believes that rule-makers in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship should continue to follow road maps influenced by cost control but expand their philosophy.

The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver would prefer to see more defined and relevant measures to be implemented into the overall cost control strategy in future Formula E regulations.

Di Grassi made reference to several key Formula E topics and how they should be prioritized and focused on in order to maintain a relevant and “clever” cost-effective agenda.

One of these was the use of expensive materials on certain components of Formula E cars and the emphasis on reducing test days for teams.

“In my personal view the number one priority is that there must be a need for cost control, but clever cost control,” di Grassi told e-racing365.

“People defining the rules for cost control must understand all the impacts they do.

“An example is to say we have a simple cost control and we cannot use brake-by-wire or we will reduce the number of test days and at the same time you reduce the weight of the car and driver another 10 or 20 kg.”

“The amount of money that is going to be spent making a powertrain or a gearbox which is 10 or 20 kg lighter is so much more than what you cut by [reducing] testing, so it makes no sense.

Di Grassi warned against Formula E losing its road relevancy and further edging into irrelevant technologies and materials, such as carbon fiber casings on gearboxes and other components.

“So instead of saying, ‘Look now we do cost control so that the powertrain needs to become an incredibly low weight’, if you set a minimum weight for a powertrain you will save money while having a development for road relevancy also,” he said.

“If you start squeezing the weight out of components and you get exotic materials then it is not road relevant. No production cars have carbon gearboxes, there is no need for it.

“It needs to be clever cost control that does not compromise performance, makes it still road relevant. I think this is very important and needs to be clear and easily understood.”

FIA and manufacturer tech chiefs met at the recent Valencia test to discuss cost control measures and the next iteration of Formula E car, which will be known as Gen 3, for the 2022-23 season.

A fully formed concept for the next generation is expected to be made public in early 2020 when tenders for the new vehicle are expected to be heard and decided on.

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

1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Chris Llana

    October 25, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Lucas makes good points! And road relevancy is very important, and should include AWD (for four-wheel magnetic/regenerative braking) which all better road EVs have.

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