In a team sport like racing, it is not an individual’s job which takes victory, but an alliance of a whole group of people.
Andrea Perilli discusses this with Franco Chiocchetti, Team Director and race engineer for reigning Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi.
Across each team sports throughout the globe, all big achievements have been made thanks to the efforts of many, not just one single person. Team-spirit is still the greatest tool which secures victories and successes.
The ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team is no stranger to this. After three hard-fought seasons, the team conquered its first Drivers’ Championship. Chiocchetti believed that if it weren’t for the hard work and team spirit the group has, it wouldn’t have been possible.
“A team is like a chain”, comments Chiocchetti. “If one of the links is broken, then the chain itself cannot work”. You could hear in Chiocchetti voice that he has the maximum amount of trust in his team.
The Montreal ePrix saw the team conquering their long awaited title, a milestone that seemed too surreal for the German squad when Di Grassi had crossed the finish line.
However, during the race, Chiocchetti felt quite calm and wasn’t too focused on the championship, but rather making sure Di Grassi had all the relevant information he needed.
“At that time I was pretty calm and relaxed, just wanted to give him the information in the nicest way possible”, recalls Chiocchetti.
“But after that, when we finished the radio communication and the whole team started celebrating; that was when we really started to realise what we had achieved.
“It still took some time to sink in; it even took me a few days. When I got home and got over the euphoria and everything; you get back to normal work life, and you’re still on a high, knowing what you’ve achieved. So it takes some days before you get the real feeling like “Wow! We actually made it!” explained Chiocchetti.
Never giving up
Di Grassi’s journey in the series so far has been a clear example of never giving up. The Sao Paulo native was disqualified twice, for technical infractions in his bid to become champion in season one and two.
“I think one of the biggest things in Formula E, is not to make mistakes. Which sounds so obvious, but we have made a few,” explains Chiocchetti.
In a role that requires a team working together. Chiocchetti is confident that the atmosphere within the team will keep the team moving in the right direction.
“The thing is to keep cool and stay focused, and make sure you don’t make mistakes, which is what goes through your head the whole season”.
“For sure, it’s always a question of trying to optimize the performance, and this is what we are continuously doing, from race to race. In season two we were able to make bigger steps because we were able to learn so much as a team. At least from the engineering team, we were learning so much day by day,” said Chiocchetti.
After an impressive second season in the series, many wondered if the team would be able to challenge Renault e.dams in the third season.
However, after the French outfit took victory in the first three rounds of season three, a number of critics started to say that the German team were no match for Renault.
“Season three showed that we didn’t have the second best car, we were in the second best group; this was a group involving Mahindra, Techeetah, DS Virgin, and us, with e.dams being in the best performance range.
“The only way we could beat Renault was to be more consistent and to make fewer mistakes, and I think we achieved this, and this made us become champions,” explained Chioicchetti.
As the series’ fourth season is quickly approaching, the German outfit starts another journey, hungry to conquer both championships; and with the help of a loyal and united team, anything is possible.