Lucas di Grassi reckons Audi doesn’t have the powertrain benefit it loved over its Components E opposition in season 4, as the electrical championship heads into its 2018/19 marketing campaign.
Audi clinched the 2017/18 groups’ title on the remaining spherical in New York after recovering from early-season technical and penalty dramas, which left it with simply 12 factors from the primary 4 rounds.
It went on to attain 4 wins and 7 podiums – together with seven rostrum visits in a row for di Grassi – as its powertrain expertise gave the staff an effectivity benefit over the remainder of the grid.
When requested concerning the outcomes of Audi’s pre-season testing at Valencia, di Grassi stated that the e-tron FE05 powertrain is “not so good as final yr [in terms of] the distinction [to the opposition]”.
“I’m feeling good – I feel we’re aggressive, however we don’t have any margin,” he instructed Motorsport.com.
“The automotive is sort of good, the drivetrain is perhaps the highest three-four.
“Final yr we had a very good benefit, particularly within the second half of the season after we sorted [the powertrain] out.
“However this yr, I feel it’s going to be tremendous shut. I feel this yr everyone has stepped up their sport.”
Audi left Valencia with the fifth quickest time within the general order, zero.558s slower than the table-topping BMW Andretti squad, whereas di Grassi accomplished a 33-lap stint on the second morning of the three-day check, which was the longest run of the week by any driver.
The season three champion instructed the indicators from testing level to a decent aggressive unfold within the upcoming season.
“It’s troublesome to discover a correlation between right here and the [FE street-based] racetracks,” he stated. “However traditionally, who was fast within the pre-season check was fast in the course of the season as effectively.
“I feel this yr is way tighter – it will likely be a really powerful area. With in all probability the highest 10-12 with possibilities to win a race.
“What I can say is that we’re prepared – reliability is nice, all the things is nice, the automotive is prepared.
“If we’ve a efficiency benefit we are going to solely know in Riyadh with 45-degrees observe temperature, with that particular tarmac – that’s the one option to say.
“[But] by way of drivetrain benefit, I don’t assume we’ve a bonus, however I don’t assume anybody else could be very far-off from anyone. I feel it’s fairly shut.”