Lucas di Grassi has criticized the rule which saw him lose pole position and be sent to the back of the grid ahead of Saturday’s Santiago E-Prix.
The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver took what he described as “the best pole lap I have done” but lost it after he was the only driver on the grid to fall foul of the amendments issued by Spark Racing Technologies regarding brake usage on in-laps during qualifying.
E-racing365 revealed earlier today details and rationale behind the move by SRT to communicate the directive last week.
“The rule says you cannot apply brake pressure in a different way than you would apply in a normal lap,” di Grassi told e-racing365.
“But brake pressure is not the right parameter because if you, imagine that you have a glazed disk brake, you can apply as much pressure as you want, and the disc will never heat up.
“What was happening was that people were using the [brake] disc to run qualifying, especially the rear, under pressure.
“So they were using the rear discs, which normally you don’t do because there is so much ‘regen’ in this car that the brakes, for the whole race, are more or less cold for pretty much everybody.”
E-racing365 understands that a second more detailed and practical rationale issued by SRT was emailed to teams on Friday, the day before the Chilean round.
Details of this communication are yet to be seen outside of the teams and the FIA.
“Some drivers were using the rear disk completely to overcook and reach a ‘1,000 degrees’ on the in-lap to heat up the tires, which is what [Tom] Dillmann did in Marrakesh and then end up without brakes and crashing [into Robin Frijns].
“So, the rule has been introduced to avoid this.
“But this rule should have energy, temperature, etc. involved, but to make it simple they just put brake pressure, but brake pressure does not relate to temperature in every case.”
Rule Semantics “Flawed”
Di Grassi stated that he didn’t gain any advantage from his application of his Audi e-tron FE05’s brakes on his qualifying in-lap.
“I didn’t heat my brakes, zero, so the temperature of my brakes today was lower than my fast lap,” he said.
“But the rule says if you apply the brakes in a different way you will be disqualified and that was the case.”
Although he railed against the way the directive was detailed, di Grassi believes the rules, which is rooted in how the teams use the Michelin tires, is necessary.
“[This new] rule, or at least the intention of the rule I understand,” he said.
“It is to ensure drivers do not overcook the brakes and heat up the tires, but the way it’s calculated and measured is completely flawed.”