Lucas di Grassi believes that drag races could be a successful qualifying format in Formula E and that the championship could benefit from it.
One of the weakest points in Formula E lately has been the group qualifying format, which was criticized by the drivers nearly every weekend because of the disadvantage they can get depending on which group they are in. The Audi driver di Grassi thinks that drag races could be a solution to this issue.
“The [current] one-lap scenario is probably the worst of all the possibilities, so it needs to change. You [need to] completely think outside of the box,” di Grassi told Motorsport.com.
“The definition of the groups or some pre-definition of qualifying will be a drag race held one week before the event in the city that we race,” he added.
The Brazilian believes that such a format will show the pure speed of Formula E cars, which is what the audience needs.
“What do you need to showcase [the cars]? Fast acceleration. What do the general public understand: they see who arrives first. That’s the winner,” di Grassi commented.
“Imagine you do an event one week before – London Bridge, Times Square, San Francisco. You take the car there and with 100% battery, you can do 100 starts.
“Imagine you have to do a drag race, four-wheel-drive, 450kWh [600bhp]. The car will accelerate faster than F1, so nobody can say the cars are slow.
“Then use that to define [the groups] for qualifying or even define the grid. This is something completely out of the box, which is what Formula E should be looking at.
“You can do it at night, with lights, you can do it in places where you’d never be able to do a race, like in front of Buckingham Palace. You just need walls for a certain straight.
“It will be about driver reaction time and the difference will be very small.
“It depends on software, on hardware, on how much you heat the tires… so many variables.”
At the same time, di Grassi supposes that Formula E needs to look at something new in terms of qualifying as drag racing is unlikely to happen.
“Nobody’s watching qualifying really, so we need to create a little bit more attention. That’s what the future of Formula E needs to do.
“It needs to create entertainment, a simple way of understanding – not attack mode, overusing energy – nobody really understands the whole picture.
‘[But] the chance of this happening is very low, because people are afraid of big changes.”