Exclusive: Lucas di Grassi on TAG Heuer’s Formula-E Prix Miami Race

Lucas di Grassi with Romero Britto Helmet
Lucas di Grassi with Romero Britto Helmet


Formula E is an all new FIA single-seater championship featuring the world’s very first fully electric racing series. The exhilarating Formula-E Prix will take this Saturday, March 14 from 2pm to 6pm in Miami. While it aspires to make the masses take another look at electric car technology, in Miami, it’s mostly another excuse for a weekend of entertaining, private viewing parties, including a posh one with Haute Living and Venegas International Group, presented by their new “Sports, Arts & Entertainment Division,” which will take place right on the start (and finish) line together with Perrier, Epicoutu, Masso Winery and Comobar.

TAG Heuer is the official watch, partner and timekeeper for each of the 10 races taking place across the world. One of their friends and ambassadors is famed Brazilian driver Lucas di Grassi, a former Formula One racer sponsored by Audi, who is in the lead of the series. Haute Living went into the paddock for an exclusive interview with di Grassi ahead of the race. He showed off his new helmet painted by friend and fellow Brazilian, artist Romero Britto. “This is a big deal because I’ve worn the same helmet design since I was eight, when we are suited up, this is how people identify me” explained di Grassi. “But for tomorrow’s race, I will wear this one.” The helmet approximates the colors on his usual helmet, so hopefully his fans will still recognize him.

Lucas di Grassi's Paddock
Lucas di Grassi’s Paddock

“For them to sponsor this series in its first year—they really have to believe in it. TAG has been associated with racing for a long time, but this is a whole new thing. They had to create completely new cars.  8 highest tech firms in the world and have them contribute brand new technology to create these cars. They go pretty fast. We can go from 0-60 in two and a half seconds, and reach a speed of 140 on these tight, city tracks. If we were in homestead the car would reach closer to 160 miles per hour.”

TAG Heuer E-Prix Race Paddock Entrance
TAG Heuer E-Prix Race Paddock Entrance

“This is a World Championship of 10 races. This is the 5th race, right now I’m leading, but I have to work hard to keep this lead.” The Formula-E Prix began in Bejing,China and is taking place in all the best cities of the world in countries like Malaysia, Uruguay, Argentina, Monaco, Germany, Russia, and UK. “Every track is new for us, built one day before the event. We can not practice. Every driver has only one hour to practice before the start of the race, said di Grassi.

Formula-E Prix VIP Viewing Party Miami
Formula-E Prix Race

Ultimately the purpose of the event is to draw attention to electric vehicles. During our interview di Grassi asked me, “Do you have an electric car?”  I conceded that I did not. “They are expensive at the moment because they are not mass-produced. If people don’t buy them, they don’t mass produce them and they stay expensive. It’s a vicious circle,” he explained.

Formula E Car
Formula E Car getting service

“With Formula-E we can do two important things: improve the technology and change the public perception of electric cars. They have a good range. It’s going to be like your mobile phone. At the end of the day you charge it, and you don’t ever go to the gas station. This is more than a sport. We are working to change the world.” Di Grassi also hinted in the future you might not even have to plug in to charge, saying that Qualcomm was working on a wireless charger. Now wouldn’t that be a game changer?

Check out the race in downtown Miami or tune into all-day on FOX Sports on Saturday, March 14th.

Photography by Hadley Henriette