Lucas di Grassi’s race-winning move on Daniel Abt in Saturday’s New York City E-Prix was “robust” and caused significant agitation in the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler pit, according to team principal Allan McNish.
The pair of Audi e-tron FE04s ran 1-2 from just before the car-swap pit stops with Abt leading teammate di Grassi as the pair made their mandatory stops on Lap 22.
Emerging from the pit lane, di Grassi capitalized on a small error from Abt in Turn 6 prior to making brief contact and the Brazilian surging ahead in Turn 11 with a decisive move.
“The scenario definitely accelerated our heart rate more than we would like but at the end of the day we had two drivers who wanted to win and they are pushing like hell,” McNish told e-racing365.
“I would describe the move as robust, not reckless.
“Actually this is the reason we are back in the championship fight as we have two drivers pushing. It is always a delicate balance between being in the top positions, getting big points and maybe something going a little bit wrong.
“It can be a fine line sometimes and today was one of those occasions.”
Despite Abt indicating the contrary in the post-race press conference, McNish said there was no explicit communication that positions should be held during the race.
A similar scenario in the Berlin E-Prix saw Abt pull clear of di Grassi, who suspected a steering problem on the second of his cars.
However, a post-race investigation by the team didn’t find any faults with the car.
“We have a clear understanding of no contact between them and when no risk should be taken,” McNish said. “That was the same in Berlin.
“In Berlin, as soon as they came out of the pit stops it was a case of no risk.
“Here we had to watch Buemi and there was a safety car. In Formula E you can’t just build a gap like in other series.
“You just have to be sensible and think of the bigger picture which is that we are now five points away from Techeetah in the teams’ standings with all to play for tomorrow.”