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Lucas Di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE07
Prime
Formula E London E-Prix II
Opinion

Why Audi was right and wrong in Formula E's loophole row

OPINION: With Audi's Formula E exit imminent, it had nothing to lose in London by attempting to vault Lucas di Grassi into the lead by pitting him under the safety car. Scorn directed at the team for putting glory before ethics should instead be pointed at a rulebook that allowed such a move in the first place.

So many were so quick to direct so much anger towards Lucas di Grassi and Audi when the Brazilian emerged from the short indoor pitlane at the ExCeL in London leading Sunday’s Formula E race. But, by the letter of the law, the team delivered a strategy masterclass. Or at least it had in theory, were it not for a minor brake lock-up on the slippery surface that meant bullets were dodged.

The precedent for the 2016-17 champion to gain seven places and jump the Mercedes of polesitter Stoffel Vandoorne was set in Berlin last season, when both Mahindra Racing cars gained places by heading for the pits during a full-course yellow period. While the FIA closed that particular loophole, the amendment to the rules only applied to said FCY conditions and didn’t carry over to a proper safety car intervention. That meant di Grassi was “free to pit provided that [he would] stop in front of their pit”, according to the sporting regulations.

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