Audi is confused by the run of reliability problems that Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi has described as “really unbelievable”.
Di Grassi suffered his second consecutive retirement in last Saturday’s Santiago ePrix, which means he has had problems in all four races so far and is the only full-time driver yet to score a point this season.
Audi Sport Abt team principal Allan McNish told Motorsport.com the situation was puzzling because di Grassi’s teammate Daniel Abt has not had the same issues.
“It’s something that’s confusing because on the other side of the garage it runs,” McNish said after the race. "I honestly, at this stage, don’t know the answer.
“I don’t know if it’s the same problem we had in Marrakesh, or not. We’re not going to know until we get back and are able to go through it from start to finish.
“That’s the frustrating part for us, for Lucas, and for the guys that put in so much effort from Marrakesh until now. We thought we’d got a solution and we came away with no points.”
Audi changed the inverter on one of di Grassi’s cars in the build-up to the Chilean round, which earned the Brazilian a 10-place grid penalty.
He rose from 13th to fifth and was in podium contention before slowing to a halt.
“The fact we’re very unreliable at the moment is just really, really unbelievable,” di Grassi told Motorsport.com. “To have so many issues consecutively, like that, it’s really frustrating because we have the pace.
“In Marrakesh I would easily have fought for the win. Here, I was in the fight for a podium. Hong Kong, I fight for a podium. We have a very, very good car. It’s just not reliable.
“The first thing in racing that you learn is to win a race, first you have to finish. We’re not finishing any races.”
Di Grassi now trails new championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne by 71 points, and effectively conceded the title post-race.
“The title is not in my mind at the moment,” he said. “In my mind is ‘try to fix the car’, to get a car that finishes one race, so I can fight for wins.
“Even if we manage to score points now, if the car isn’t reliable in the next races the title is impossible to fight for.
“The first thing we need to do is to sort out this issue. That’s down to the team and engineers to sort this out as quick as possible.”
Audi’s miserable Santiago round was compounded by Abt retiring after picking up damage when Nick Heidfeld sent him into the wall on the opening lap.
It leaves the team just eighth in the championship, level on Dragon Racing with just 12 points and only ahead by virtue of a higher finishing position.