Formula E

Di Grassi “against” “easier” brake-by-wire system

Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler driver Lucas di Grassi says he is against the brake-by-wire systems introduced to Formula E for the 2018/19 season.

FE will use brake-by-wire technology for the first time with the introduction of the Gen2 car, meaning one of the biggest driving challenges of the series of balancing braking with regeneration will be made simpler for the drivers.

Former FE champion di Grassi believes it acts as a “driver aid” and is favour of keeping the mechanical brakes previously used in the series.

“This is easy. Actually, I’m against it because it makes it easier to drive,” he told FormulaSpy.

“Before you had to manually shift the brake balance when the regen was kicking in and out. Now the computer does it for you.

“So I’m in favour of really driver-dependent stuff, even if the car goes faster, has more power we don’t need to make driver aids. The intelligent braking system that we have now is a driver aid so I’m personally against it, but it’s a technical evolution of the car.

“It makes the car better, easier to brake, go faster, you don’t have the problem with the regen anymore. It makes a big change.”

Di Grassi though admits that “technology-wise it makes sense” to introduce the new systems and believes that it will not affect how prone drivers are the making mistakes on track.

“I don’t think it makes you more or less prone to crashing, because you can brake later because it’s more reliable you brake more on the limit. You go more on the limit you crash more,” he said.

“So before you always had to leave a small margin because you never know if you’re going to lock the rear or the front. Now the brakes are more together.

“When you brake you can still do a mistake but you take this small margin that you had before out.”

His team-mate Daniel Abt said that it can harder to figure out driver errors with the brake-by-wire system as it means having to go through much more data than before.

“The only thing with the brake-by-wire is that it’s super related on systems working correctly,” he said.

“Before if you made a mistake on the brakes you knew what happened and you could change the balance. It was mechanically handled and you knew what was going on.

“Now sometimes stuff happens and you’re not quite sure why, someone has to look into data to tell you what’s happening. You have to rely on people in the background to give you the good braking rather than it just being you and the mechanical brake.”

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Chris Stevens

Chris is a member of the Autosport Academy and has been writing about motorsport professionally since 2015. He has been one of the top Formula E journalists since he went to Donington Park for pre-season testing a week after picking up his A-Level results.

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