Lucas di Grassi Interview: Victory in Beijing Is a Fond Memory

"but No More Than That”

Lucas di Grassi wrote a small chapter in motorsport history by winning the season opening race in Beijing. Before round two in Malaysia (22 November), the Brazilian talks about the special challenges of Formula E, the interest from his fellow drivers and the aims for the next race.

The inaugural race in Beijing has long been over. How excited are you about Malaysia?“Tremendously. After such a fantastic inaugural race in Beijing it's hard having to wait for such a long time before being able to get into a Formula E car again, although, obviously, I've been fully concentrating on WEC in the meantime. But from now on everything will be a lot more fluid. The next races will be held almost at monthly intervals and there are only three weeks between Malaysia and Uruguay. That's exactly the way I like it!”

In the meantime: what has been the response to Formula E?“I could feel that people like Formula E. Especially in my country, Brazil, there was huge interest. There were many queries from magazines, newspapers and TV channels. Fans and media are curious and happy about a breath of fresh air in the motorsport landscape. Whenever fans approach me with a request for a photograph they increasingly mention Formula E.”

Have you been quizzed by your fellow racing drivers too?“Of course a lot of colleagues extended their congratulations to me at the WEC weekends at Austin and Shanghai and were eager to get first-hand information about what Formula E is like. Most of them have been following the series from the beginning. I've been sharing a lot of information again now and am sure that many drivers will be watching TV on 22 November again – and maybe wishing to compete in Formula E themselves one day.”

What was the most important thing you learned from the opener in Beijing?“Formula E is totally about going to the limit – but not pushing it by even a tiny bit. This applies to energy consumption as well as to behaviour on the track. As we're driving on narrow city street circuits, even the smallest mistake can be disastrous. You either lose valuable driving time or, because everything takes place on the same day, even the start in qualifying or the race. A cool head is more important than ever in Formula E. You've got to keep cool at all times.”

How do you assess the circuit in Malaysia compared to the one in Beijing?“That's hard to say because each track is completely new for us racing drivers. Compared to Beijing Putrajaya is shorter and, at first glance, seems to have more demanding turns and sections. It'll be a great challenge that we've got to adjust to as quickly as possible.”

Your team-mate Daniel Abt has dropped the GP2 finale to run in Malaysia – was that the right decision from your perspective?“Absolutely. Daniel showed a strong performance in qualifying and lost his podium place in the race only due to a really minor issue. He's set on making up for this as soon as possible and now has the opportunity to do so.”

What are the aims when you arrive in Putrajaya as the leader of the standings?“Formula E is unpredictable. Everybody's got the same material, the gaps are minimal and on a new track the relative strengths can pan out differently again. Our aim remains the same before each race: we're set on winning. And if that shouldn't be possible, then we'd at least like to finish on the podium and score valuable points. Our victory in Beijing is a fond memory – but no more than that. That's why we're now preparing for Malaysia with the same concentration and will try and pull off an impeccable weekend with the whole squad.”