Hot start in Santiago

A masterclass in racing to kick off the Formula E year.

It wasn’t the podium they were hoping for, but a stellar performance by Lucas di Grassi offers a look at what’s to come.

20 January, 2020

There were accidents aplenty in the first Formula E outing for the new year, which made for some exciting and at times, frustrating racing

Wheel-to-wheel racing from the start, accidents and incidents were all a part of the week’d racing in Santiago in the first Formula E race for 2020. Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team was looking to finish with an other podium, but while that wasn’t to be, an absolutely thrilling drive by Lucas di Grassi demonstrated not just the Brazillian’s mastery behind the wheel but the sheer speed of the 

Audi e-tron FE06 and what we can expect as the season unfolds.

The E-Prix at Parque O'Higgins in the Chilean capital delivered a typical Formula E experience from qualifying to the race proper. An accident right in front of di Grassi during qualifying saw him forced to start in 22nd position, and that, on the tight Santiago layout should have been race over. But di Grassi was not to be denied, and he produced an absolute masterclass of driving, somehow managing to avoid the myriad accidents and general mayhem that saw numerous yellow flags, to ultimate finish in seventh.

“It was absolutely fantastic,” said Lucas di Grassi. “I'm completely exhausted, but overjoyed to have moved up to seventh place from the second last row of the grid. I’m very proud of the entire team and Audi.” 

His teammate Daniel Abt, was also adversely affected by traffic during qualifying, starting from 13th on the grid and also fighting his way through the traffic to improve in the race to eighth. There unfortunately, a time penalty for an incident during the race pushed him back to 14th, which was a frustrating result for the German after securing a podium in Santiago last year.
“Today it was a real street fight,” said Team Principal Allan McNish. “After a difficult qualifying session, we all knew that it was going to be a tough race for us. But, once again the team fought its way back. The fact that Lucas was able to move up to seventh was impressive. It’s a pity that Daniel was penalised for one of the many incidents that occurred today. It was a tough race weekend for us, but we’re taking important points with us from Santiago and are already looking forward to the next race in Mexico.” 

The results see Lucas di Grassi now sitting in fifth position overall in the driver’s standings, while Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler is in fourth position on the ladder going into Mexico next month. 

“Today it was a real street fight ... but the fact that Lucas was able to move up to seventh was impressive"

Allan McNish Team Principal