Monday, June 24, 2024

Lucas Di Grassi: Poor qualifying performances mean ‘we will always struggle’

Former Formula E Champion Lucas Di Grassi endured another challenging weekend at the Jakarta E-Prix, as his point-less streak extended to ten races.

The Brazilian is certainly trying incredibly hard to get Mahindra Racing back into the points; however, the Indian manufacturer currently just aren’t good enough. Di Grassi finished fourteenth in both races in the Indonesian capital, with him openly admitting that the team will “always struggle” if they keep qualifying towards the back of the grid.

Di Grassi qualified twenty-first on Saturday and nineteenth on Sunday, making a points finish virtually impossible. The Formula E veteran admits that the team are working “very hard day and night” to get back into the points; however, they once again need to “analyse the data” ahead of the next race.

“It was not a good weekend. We tried everything we could and worked very hard day and night to try to score some points but sadly didn’t find that thing we needed to quite get there. It’s very frustrating and we need to go back home and analyse the data to understand what we need to do for the next race. I thought both races were actually alright.

“I pushed hard and didn’t make any major mistakes and overtook some cars, but starting that far back, we will always struggle to make significant progress. We now move on to Portland.”

“I can see that the team are pushing” – Roberto Merhi

On the other side of the garage, rookie Roberto Merhi made his debut at arguably the most physically demanding double-header of the season, after replacing Oliver Rowland.

Merhi certainly made progress throughout the weekend but was never far from the bottom of the timesheets, with him having qualified last on Saturday and twenty-first on Sunday. He respectively finished the two races in eighteenth and seventeenth, with plenty of learning having been done. Mahindra are yet to confirm if the Spaniard will replace Rowland again in Portland; however, Merhi has at least gotten some experience under his belt should be be called-up again.

“It was a tough to start a race in the middle of the season because everyone is already at a certain level, so I had a lot of catching up to do coming here with no experience and no testing,” said Merhi.

“It has been a good weekend with Mahindra though, who have really helped me get to grips with the championship and the car. I made a big improvement from yesterday to today. My qualifying today was much more positive. I can see that the team is pushing things forward.”

Credit: Simon Galloway courtesy of FIA Formula E