Lucas di Grassi

LAT/Formula E

Lucas di Grassi named new CEO of Roborace

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FIA Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi has been named the new CEO of Roborace, the autonomous electric driving platform.

Roborace was unveiled in November 2015 as a new project to advance autonomous vehicle technology in conjunction with Formula E, the world’s first all-electric single-seater championship.

A series of tests have taken place with a modified Ginetta LMP3 chassis, dubbed a ‘DevBot’, at Formula E events through season three, with the futuristic-looking ‘Robocar’ set to appear at season four events.

Di Grassi was named as Roborace’s new CEO at the Frankfurt Motor Show earlier this week, expanding his business interests outside of his racing career.

“We want to take Roborace where motorsport cannot go, focusing the platform on future road-relevant autonomous technology. The future of mobility is autonomous, that’s an industry consensus now,” di Grassi said.

“In the same way, I believe that motorsport is about the driver, who is the best human being behind the wheel. I want to develop the Roborace series to be complimentary to traditional motorsport, and not to replace it.

“We invite the OEMs, suppliers, technology companies and universities to use our platform to showcase their technology and intellectual capacity in driverless systems. With the technology evolving so fast we must remain flexible on the events, races and challenges we are promoting.”

Di Grassi takes over as CEO from Roborace founder Denis Sverdlov, who will move into an advisory role in order to focus on other projects.

Di Grassi clinches maiden Formula E title, Vergne wins Montreal finale

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MONTREAL, Canada – Lucas di Grassi has been crowned FIA Formula E champion after finishing seventh in Sunday’s season finale in Montreal, with title rival Sebastien Buemi failing to score.

Di Grassi moved into the lead of the drivers’ championship for the first time this season on Saturday by winning the Montreal opener, opening up an 18-point lead when Buemi was disqualified.

Buemi’s struggles continued on Sunday as he qualified a lowly 14th, and was then hit at the start, forcing him to take a pit stop after being shown a black and orange flag, causing him to drop to the back of the field.

Buemi was able to fight his way back up to 11th by the checkered flag, but with di Grassi finishing seventh, the championship was comfortably settled.

The Brazilian is Formula E’s third champion in as many seasons, clinching the title despite taking just two wins compared to Buemi’s six, the Renault racer’s New York no-show proving costly.

The race itself was won by Jean-Eric Vergne, who finally took his first Formula E win after finishing second on six previous occasions, passing pole-sitter Felix Rosenqvist in the second stint of the race.

Rosenqvist held on to second for Mahindra, securing himself third place in the drivers’ championship after Sam Bird could only take P4 on the day for DS Virgin Racing, finishing behind teammate Jose Maria Lopez.

Nick Heidfeld put in a quietly impressive display to take P5 for Mahindra ahead of Daniel Abt, who di Grassi let past at the line in the sister ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport car.

Despite closing the gap to Renault in the teams’ championship with a strong double score, the ABT squad was unable to deny the French marque a third straight title, clinched even though Buemi finished 11th and Nicolas Prost failed to finish.

Stephane Sarrazin recovered from a first lap spin to finish eighth for Techeetah, securing another double-score for the team, while Jerome d’Ambrosio and Tom Dillmann rounded out the points.

Formula E now takes a break until the start of collective testing in Valencia in October, with the opening race taking place in Hong Kong in early December.

Di Grassi takes Montreal Formula E win as pressure tolls for Buemi

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MONTREAL, Canada – Lucas di Grassi moved into the lead of the Formula E drivers’ championship for the first time this season by going wire-to-wire in Montreal on Saturday as the pressure tolled on rival Sebastien Buemi.

Di Grassi delivered a near-perfect weekend, taking pole and leading every lap en route to victory to pull six points clear of Buemi in the standings.

Buemi was forced to start 12th on the grid after a battery change triggered a penalty, and fell back to 17th off the start.

The Swiss driver rose back up the order through the race, although not without getting caught up in incidents with Robin Frijns, Daniel Abt and Stephane Sarrazin, the latter fending him off to complete the podium.

Di Grassi faced late pressure from Jean-Eric Vergne after a safety car period bunched the pack, but was able to hold on and pick up his second victory of the season, hailing it as the best race of his Formula E career.

Di Grassi moved on to 175 points for the season with victory, leaving Buemi six points back on 169 with 29 up for grabs in Sunday’s championship finale.

Abt finished close behind Buemi in fifth ahead of Sam Bird, who battled his way from 18th on the grid to take sixth place for DS Virgin Racing.

Nicolas Prost wound up seventh for Renault e.dams ahead of Jaguar’s Mitch Evans, while Frijns survived his fracas with Buemi to take ninth. Felix Rosenqvist picked up the final point on offer in P10, having dropped back when running fourth due to damage on his car.

Momentum swings in FE title race as di Grassi takes Montreal pole

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MONTREAL, Canada – The momentum in the Formula E championship battle took a huge swing in Lucas di Grassi’s favor on Saturday in Montreal as the Brazilian swept to his second pole position in the all-electric series.

Di Grassi arrived in Montreal trailing long-running rival Sebastien Buemi by 10 points in the drivers’ championship, but was able to reduce the gap by three with pole and the resultant bonus score.

The sweetest success for di Grassi was not of his own design, though. Trying to find the limit of a hot lap during practice, Buemi pushed too hard, crashing hard into the wall at the chicane and causing a significant amount of damage to his car.

A new battery had to be fitted by the Renault e.dams crew, triggering a 10-place grid drop that means Buemi will start the race 12th, having originally trailed di Grassi by just two-tenths of a second.

Stephane Sarrazin will join di Grassi on the front row after an impressive run for Techeetah, while Buemi’s teammate, Nicolas Prost, is set to start in third place – directly behind di Grassi.

Di Grassi may get some assistance from his ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport teammate Daniel Abt, though, given the German will start ahead of Buemi in 11th.

Felix Rosenqvist will start P4 for Mahindra ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne, while Jaguar racers Mitch Evans and Adam Carroll picked up the team’s best qualifying result of the year to secure P6 and P7 on the grid.

Oliver Turvey will start eighth for NextEV, while Tom Dillmann and Loic Duval will complete the top 10 for the start in Montreal.

Buemi’s FE points lead intact despite New York no-show

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RED HOOK, NY – Sebastien Buemi will head into the final double-header round of the third FIA Formula E season with his points lead intact despite missing last weekend’s races in New York City.

Defending Formula E champion Buemi was forced to skip the inaugural New York City ePrix due to his clashing commitments with Toyota’s LMP1 team in the FIA World Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring.

Despite late attempts from Buemi and his Renault e.dams team to try and take some part in the New York weekend, Toyota refused to budge, giving title rival Lucas di Grassi two races to try and cut down the 32-point gap.

Di Grassi struggled through qualifying, starting P10 on Saturday and P9 on Sunday, but was able to battle back through to fourth and fifth in the respective races.

Leaving New York with a haul of 22 points, di Grassi sits 10 back from Buemi in the drivers’ championship with two races remaining, but the Brazilian nevertheless feels good about his chances.

“I think 22 points, I’m not disappointed with it. We have to improve a lot if we want to win in Montreal,” di Grassi said.

“I feel more confident than ever. With the experience that I have with Formula E, you know that it can go from hell to heaven any weekend, any race. We just have to do our best, try and win both races and see how it goes.

“It will be difficult, but nevertheless, we’re going to try very hard. The championship is in my hands. If I win both races, I am champion – no mathematics to be done. To win both races, that’s the aim. Let’s see how it goes.”

Buemi’s race at the Nürburgring seemed to be over before it had begun when he suffered a fuel pump issue on the formation lap, forcing Toyota into a lengthy repair of its TS050 Hybrid car.

Alongside Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, Buemi was able to battle his way back to fourth place, trailing the three other LMP1 hybrids.