Formula E will produce “much more overtaking” at Monaco than F1, says Di Grassi

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In the round-up: Lucas di Grassi says Monaco’s grand prix circuit, which Formula E will race on in full for the first time this year, is much more suited to the electric category than F1.

In brief

Formula E will have more overtakes than F1 at Monaco

Monaco’s tendency to produce processional racing in Formula 1 will be in sharp contrast to Formula E’s action there, Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi believes, as the all-electric series moves to use the full grand prix layout.

“I think the Monaco track is much more suited to Formula E, to our type of racing,” he said. “It’s really, really good to have to have the long track and it will be possible to overtake.

“To see the car in different conditions, in terms of driving it’s much nicer with the upper parts of the track, also the downhill and the hairpin and the tunnel part so we can have such iconic pictures, we can take iconic memories. I haven’t driven there since F1, so that is going to be interesting to go back and revisit that.

“We’re going to have much more overtakes than F1. For them it’s impossible to overtake there. Although the car is much faster, the circuit is too short and it’s not made for their type of car.

“But with Formula E, you’re going to have a lot of overtakes, a lot of action. It’s going to be a very entertaining race for all the public and to bring down the street racing.”

Gasly likes ‘more intense’ one-hour practice sessions

Pierre Gasly says F1’s shorter Friday practice sessions has not prevented the teams from testing everything they need to.

“After two races, we are now used to only having an hour for each free practice session,” he said. “It hasn’t changed our work programme, but it does mean the track is busier with more cars out at the same time, so there is a bit more action and you spend less time waiting in the garage.

“I quite like it, as the sessions are more intense.”

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Comment of the day

After a second DRS zone was added to Portimao, is it limiting ‘natural’ overtaking?

Reducing the main zone is a positive but I don’t see the need to add the second as we did see a couple good overtakes into turn five last year without it.

They don’t need to have a DRS zone on every viable straight or before every realistic overtaking opportunity. Yes fine doing so virtually guarantee’s a lot of passing but it also often robs us of seeing some actual racing (which is what I’m more interested in) where the overtaking is as a result of driver skill rather than a driver pressing a button when he hears a beep after crossing a line that signals the start of the pre-defined passing zone.

I just can’t stand the thing, I find no excitement or value in any of the passing it produces and I cannot wait for the day it’s finally taken off the cars completely so we don’t have to worry that they may turn it on if we go a few laps without an overtake happening.

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On this day in F1

  • 20 years ago today the Champ Car series should have raced at Texas, but the event was cancelled after the high G-forces generated on the steeply banked oval caused several drivers to black out and crash during practice

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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42 comments on “Formula E will produce “much more overtaking” at Monaco than F1, says Di Grassi”

  1. As per the FE article, Monaco is more suitable to smaller cars (maybe slower also), I again recommend watching last weekends “Historic”. Best wishes to Alex Z. and family.

  2. How is it, that 10 years on, people are still complaining about the DRS as robbing us of seeing good racing. I wish someone would go back through all the races and count how many times it has got the trailing car to a point of making a competitive (but not gifted) overtake. I can almost be certain it would be more than the times a car has arrived at that point without it in this era of dirty air.

    Yes it is overpowered sometimes, but that is where F1 has failed, not with the concept as a whole. It’s never been tuned accurately enough year on year, being extended at circuits that need it, or reduced at those where it’s just all too easy, which is so integral to the solution.

    Would F1 be better off without it? 100% But not until the inability to follow in dirty air is solved.

    1. Historic F1 cars had a “built in” DRS, they beneffitted from running behind a car. Modern cars don’t work that way so they made a system that mimics it.

      Sure it’s a bit gimicky but it will look the same once they make cars that can follow better. Only those cars can’t be tuned for their DRS effect so you might get unintended consequences.

    2. @skipgamer we shouldn’t need to go back through the races to find good DRS passes. As fans of the sport, we should recall them. I can’t remember any exciting DRS assisted pass. And many of the best races over the years have featured a battle for position where passing was very difficult. Passing should be difficult!

      It’s intrinsically flawed because it doesn’t address the key issue (inability to follow closely enough through corners). The result is that, when it works, it merely allows passing on the straight, with no possibility to defend. When it doesn’t work, it’s just pointless.

      I think part of the problem is that it has been frequently implemented on the main straights of circuits, whereas it ought to be used to get a car close enough on the preceding part of the circuit to then make an old school slipstreaming or outbraking pass. But of course most circuits are not laid out for that to work.

      It’s just a horrible gimmicky non-solution to F1’s aero addiction. Every time I see it used I love the sport a little less.

    3. The problem is indeed the too powerful part, and that it becomes an easy cop out.
      Many DRS overtakes are finished well before the corner, and oftentimes the leading car doesn’t even defend.
      It also makes the driver behind wait for the DRS zone (or activation lap) before attacking the driver ahead instead of earlier in a natural way.
      And then there is the weird rule that you get the DRS benefit even if you finished the overtake before the DRS zone.

      But looking at my glass a quarter full, it also creates some good racing as in chasers trying to break into the 1s zone, and defenders to try to keep them out of it.

      I would be a great advocate of DRS if it only does what it tries to offset: recover the downforce in the curvy bits when closely chasing.

      1. @coldfly, Great idea, make DRS open on the leading car in the curvy bits when the following car gets within 1 second behind, excitement guaranteed.

      2. @coldfly Many, but only on certain tracks (Spa, Algarve last year). On most tracks, moves definitely don’t get completed before the upcoming corner. The system doesn’t recognize if a car is behind or ahead after crossing a detection line, only what happens at that point. The same when approaching a car to-be-lapped.

        1. The system doesn’t recognize if a car is behind or ahead after crossing a detection line, only what happens at that point. The same when approaching a car to-be-lapped.

          That’s not my point, @jerejj.
          I dislike it when DRS can still be activated if the overtake was completed between the detection line and the activation zone.
          Or similarly, when in a double zone (with one detection line) the overtake is completed in the first zone.

          But maybe it’s just me disliking it when the driver then drives off into the distance with his DRS wide open.

    4. @skipgamer – the thing with DRS is I actually like its concept but definitely not its current purpose. Though what really bothers me is the utter silliness of keeping those massive front wings. There is simply no way of solving dirty air issues with them.

      1. You need massive front wings @niefer, to balance the downforce of the rear wing and floor which both mainly aid the rear wheels (grip).

        Also the dirty air primarily impacts the central part of the wing, thus you need wider ones to create some effective front wheel grip to steer the car.

        1. @coldfly Much of the dirty air is created by the front wings. The wing is there not just to produce downforce, but also to create vortices which seal the floor and create more downforce along the rest of the car.
          It’s a downward spiral – having bigger front wings requires bigger front wings to combat the effects created by the bigger front wings…

  3. Last time Formula E raced at Monaco, there was overtaking *into Tabac*

  4. Formula E Drivers, specially ex F1 ones feel so salty always trying to convince everybody that formula E is better than F1.

    1. They have a good point though, even the running out of ‘fuel’ they do better.
      Although I missed drivers getting out of their cars and pushing it over the finish line.

      1. János Henkelmann
        29th April 2021, 14:52

        Running out of “fuel” in 2021 is just pathetic. Nothing old school or cool about it…

    2. For most racing drivers, FE is better than F1.
      A drivers’ series VS a teams’ series.

      1. If you have them a choicebetween ab frontline F1 drive and a frontline Fe drive, which one would they take? Fe is too slow a gimmicky to be called anything but a test bed for new tech

        1. But that’s what F1 thinks it is too… A test bed for new tech. Pity they are both wrong. Road tech comes from road tech, not from race tracks.

          How many drivers get a chance in a top F1 team, without any political baggage? Not very many.
          At least in FE, they all have a roughly equal chance of success.
          Many drivers would rather win in FE than drive around fighting for second last in F1 for more than a couple of years.

    3. @joac21 It’s outright comical when they have fanboost and whatnot

  5. Overtaking or not, the spectacle of F1 cars around Monaco is incredible. I’ll happily watch every time.

  6. Likely go-carts will have more overtaking than Formula E…

  7. It’s nice to read that Alex Zanardi is getting better. The man is true inspiration and example
    of the restless and relentless human spirit. #ForzaAlex

    About FE in full Monaco circuit – I expect some argie-bargie here and there, and generally fun race, they generally do well there.

    1. I’d like them to run the F1 circuit, then let’s talk…..

      1. They are running the Grand Prix circuit this year, as noted several times above.

  8. Having people like Lucas di Grassi constantly saying “FE is better than F1 because…” does not make FE better than F1.

    1. Exactly this….and then @hazellsouthwell gets all antsy when people compare the two after the farce of last weekends race. If you don’t want to be compared to F1, stop comparing yourself to F1!

  9. Yeah right. I have doubts about the FE claim.

    The National News post is weirdly written, LOL.

    I’ve replied to COTD once, so here’s a shorter version: Montmelo’s T9-T10 straight rarely features overtaking despite DRS, so Algarve’s equivalent second-longest straight at a similar length is unlikely to be any different in this regard. People should stop making a fuss out of these things, especially when the chosen straight is already short.

  10. Di Grassi says it like it’s something.
    Will they at least reach 200kph?
    Will the batteries sustain after Beau Rivage?
    Oh, gimme a break.

    1. @niefer Why do they need to reach a 200kph? Does something magically become better at 200kph?
      I’ve seen little evidence that F1 going faster makes it better.

      1. So you do not support the idea that the fascination of F1 is somehow related to the speed of the cars?

        1. @zomtec Speed, by itself, is not fascinating to me – no. I guess it works for some, but we all like different things.
          Close, hard racing; tight competitive depth; strategic diversity; cars that are difficult and often inconsistent to drive and require bravery bordering on insanity – these things are fascinating to me.

          F1 stopped being/having all of those things.
          Aiming primarily for ‘fast’ is what has caused most of F1’s problems.

          1. You should check out lawnmower racing….very close and competative.

          2. Watch touring car then

          3. Thank you to both of you.
            I watch all kinds of motorsports. F1 is no better than any others, and pales in comparison to most in many ways, IMO.
            I prefer motorsports to be a competition more than a demonstration.

        2. The way the F1 broadcast is produced does not show the speed of F1, you know with the help of zoom, moving cams, etc. So the speed of F1 can not be the thing why people are watching F1.

          1. I am. If F1 cars maxed out at 100kph, literally anyone could do it. The appeal is that the average human simply cannot drive these cars to the limit no matter their ego.

      2. I’m sorry S, if you don’t see anything magical about controlling a car at breakneck speeds and narrow turns, then I don’t think we are talking about the same thing.

  11. Re Formula E: Don’t think so. Formula E’s current car is just as wide as F1, I think.
    Re Zanardi: Get well soon Alex.
    Re Viscaal: Let’s see how it goes for him.

  12. Let’s see how the FE race pans out.

    If it’s anything like most, there’ll be a fair bit of passing brought about be the car attempting the pass clattering in to the car in front – it just seems like way too many passes are bumper car style.

    Pleased that they are using the full track though. Here’s hoping that we get a lot of racing and not spend half the race pulling cars out of the fences while the safety mini tootles around.

  13. It depends on whether you call overtaking smashing your way past the car ahead which seems to be the FE way.

    1. If it takes you from ‘behind’ to ‘in front’ – it classifies as overtaking, doesn’t it?
      Clean overtakes generally require both drivers to respect each other. Besides, the cars are built for a bit of rubbing.
      Rubbing is racing.

  14. Wow, Formula E will have more overtakes than F1 in Monaco with smaller cars, Fan Boost and Attack Mode?

    What a surprise!

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