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Formula E Mexico City Sensational first win of the season for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler and Lucas di Grassi

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Elation on the podium: Lucas di Grassi (center) celebrates the first win of the 2018/2019 Formula E season with Prof. Peter Gutzmer, Chief Technology Officer at Schaeffler (to the right), and the entire Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team

2019-02-17 | Herzogenaurach/Mexico City

  • Lucas di Grassi wins round four of the Formula E in Mexico
  • Third Mexico victory for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler in three years
  • Daniel Abt earns a point for tenth place after starting from the 21st grid spot

Round four of the Formula E season on the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City will go down in the history books as an outstanding example of fascinating motorsport. Mere meters from the finish line, Lucas di Grassi swept past Pascal Wehrlein, who had led the race since the start, in a sensational maneuver just centimeters from the pit wall – and won. This was preceded by a gripping Formula E thriller, in which di Grassi kept Wehrlein under constant pressure, forcing him to use a lot of his electric race car’s energy in an attempt to keep the Brazilian at bay. While di Grassi could rely on the efficiency of the drivetrain, developed jointly by Audi and Schaeffler, and still had plenty of energy in the battery of his Audi e-tron FE05, the German had to fiercely defend himself in his slowing car. After the race, Wehrlein was handed a 5-second penalty retroactively for shortcutting a chicane on the last lap. When the German opened a tiny gap, di Grassi grabbed his chance and, with a lightning reaction, crossed the line first in a picture-book finish.

“I knew that he’d receive a penalty for his mistake in the chicane, but of course it’s a wonderful feeling to actually cross the finish line first after such a maneuver. Today’s race was the best in my Formula E career,” explained the Brazilian, who secured the drivers’ title in 2016/2017. “We’ve always known that the Audi e-tron FE05 is fast, and we didn’t let it bother us when the results weren’t initially there. We analyzed the reasons and worked in the right direction step-by-step. A big thumbs up to my Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team!” Thanks to his win, the 34-year-old moves up the rankings to sit fourth in the drivers’ classification.

“You don’t have to see more than this race and the final lap to understand what makes Formula E so fascinating. That was breathtaking. Congratulations to Lucas, this was probably one of the most tactically clever races and one of the most spectacular overtaking maneuvers I've ever seen in the last few meters before the finish line,” said Prof. Peter Gutzmer, Chief Technology Officer at Schaeffler. “First he pushed Pascal (Wehrlein) into using as much battery energy as possible, and then he pounced like a true champion. We’ve always believed in the performance and the efficiency of our drivetrain and today has been a real banner day for our Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler squad. Three victories in three years on this race track – Mexico, we can’t wait to come back!” This marks the ninth victory for di Grassi at the 49th Formula E race, and the eleventh win for the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team.

Taking up the race from the 21st grid spot after a mistake in qualifying, his teammate Daniel Abt scored one point for tenth place and now ranks eleventh in the drivers’ standings. Next up for Formula E is round five on March 10 in Hong Kong.

This is Formula E

Formula E is an FIA-sanctioned motor racing series for fully electric cars. In 2018/2019, Formula E season five, eleven teams and 22 drivers are on the grid. Formula E races worldwide on temporary circuits in the hearts of metropolises such as Hong Kong, Berlin and New York City. From December 15, 2018 until July 14, 2019, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship is holding 13 rounds at twelve venues. Each race lasts 45 minutes, plus one lap.

Schaeffler in Formula E

Schaeffler is one of the co-founders and one of the most notable and successful players in Formula E. In 2016/2017, Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler won the drivers’ title (Lucas di Grassi) and in 2017/2018, the teams’ title (Lucas di Grassi/Daniel Abt). Schaeffler has been contributing its know-how to the development of the powertrain since 2015. In doing so, the company demonstrates its expertise in forward-thinking technologies and presents ideas for sustainable mobility for tomorrow in the innovative electric racing series as well.

The new Formula E technology

In season five, Formula E is entering its second era. The most conspicuous innovation for 2018/2019 going forward: Every driver has only one race car anymore. The reason is that the second-generation cars mark the end of the mid-race car swaps previously required at each Formula E event because the battery capacity is now sufficient for the entire race distance. New as well starting this season is the cars’ futuristic design without a rear wing, plus the Halo protection system above the cockpit.

The new Audi e-tron FE05 was meticulously developed by Audi Sport and Schaeffler with the new technical and strategic challenges in mind. The motor-generator unit named Audi Schaeffler MGU03, the centerpiece of the Audi e-tron FE05, was jointly developed by the two technology partners. 95 percent of all powertrain components are new, having resulted in weight savings of ten percent. Two Audi e-tron FE05 cars are fielded by the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler factory team for Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt and, in 2018/2019, two by the recently added Envision Virgin Racing customer team with drivers Sam Bird and Robin Frijns.

Publisher: Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG
Country: Germany

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