Lucas di Grassi has expanded his social media criticism of Sebastien Vettel’s comments questioning the relevance of Formula E on the road.
The 2016-17 Formula E champion told The Race that Vettel was “very misinformed” and that the soon-to-retire F1 driver had a “lack of understanding” about Formula E and its relevance to road cars. .
Di Grassi, who was recently confirmed with the Mahindra Formula E team for 2023, also questioned Vettel’s full understanding of Formula E and speculated that his environmental credentials could be “greenwashing” and “not what he really believes”.
Vettel’s comments were made via German newspaper Zeit earlier this week, where he claimed Formula E’s technology roadmap and its relevance to road cars should be questioned.
He was initially asked if he might be interested in a role within Formula E to continue his advocacy for the environment, but said: “I don’t want to be a mascot and I don’t want to stick up for something that it’s not.” completely convince me.
I don’t understand the meaning behind this [Formula E]. The battery technology that is being developed has nothing to do with the technology that could be used by a normal car.
“It is not good for the environment if the batteries are not charged with renewable energy but with fossil fuels.”
In his initial tweet following Vettel’s comments, di Grassi said that “to say that car technology is less relevant to the future of cars… [he] either he has no idea what he’s talking about or he’s trying to mislead the general public on purpose.”
“And/or all that green stuff he’s been doing lately (trash picking, biking, etc) is completely greenwashing, not what he really thinks it is,” he added.
“Whatever [whether] whether you like the series or not, you should support it. That is all.”
Di Grassi, who raced Vettel in the 2005 F3 Euroseries, told The Race he stands by his criticism because he considers Vettel’s comments ill-informed.
“He’s an interesting guy, he was one of the best drivers that ever lived and he’s won four titles and he’s a legend, so I’m not questioning his driving skills,” di Grassi said.
“I am questioning your understanding of the technology because when you say Formula E is not relevant, how is Formula 1 relevant then?
“I understand this turn he took in his career this year to protect bees, ride a bike, etc. I really admire that. But you also have to be true to your word.”
Specifically, di Grassi was irritated by Vettel’s view of whether Formula E was relevant to the auto industry despite the fact that 12 major original equipment manufacturers had competed in it to date.
The all-electric world championship has also showcased various technical components and cross-pollinating technologies for the automotive industry.
These include software applications and also the use of silicon carbide in propulsion systems to increase efficiency. This had a clear crossover with some manufacturers in their EV products and also helped reduce the weight and cost of their vehicles, as well as increase the power density of the control electronics.
This technology was first used by the Venturi team in 2015 through a partnership with specialist semiconductor company ROHM.
Di Grassi also amplified his frustration with Vettel’s comments after he began promoting his own sustainability messages last year.
“I am not at all arguing whether I should participate [in Formula E]I don’t think it’s the place for him, the money he’s going to make in Formula E is irrelevant to what he’s done in his career, so why would he? diGrassi said.
“Maybe Formula E is too slow at the moment or too ‘whatever’ for him, I don’t know.
“He has his own options, these I don’t question, what I question is the side of the technology that he raised, which is very uninformed, to say the least.
“He didn’t even criticize the championship itself. He was saying that the technology doesn’t relate to the cars, the battery doesn’t have the same chemistry and the championship doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t develop relevant technology. But in fact, this is exactly what Formula 1 does.
“So for me it was a lack of understanding of exactly how Formula E works, or just not understanding what he’s talking about.