Mercedes, Porsche arrival will make Audi's life harder reckons Lucas di Grassi

Season 3 Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi believes that the arrival of giants Mercedes and Porsche to the all-electric series will make consistently strong results challenging for his Audi team.

Season 6 of the fully-electric ABB FIA Formula E Championship marks the series' most competitive competition to date, with the field expanding to its maximum 12-team, 24-driver grid this season following the arrival of Mercedes EQ and Porsche.

Amidst this expanded lineup, which sees a total of nine different manufacturers in direct competition, di Grassi believes that consistently strong performances for his Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler team will be challenging, given the close nature of the field ahead of the first races of the season.

"Fans can look forward to a super-thrilling season," said di Grassi ahead of the Diriyah E-Prix. "We have two new manufacturers – Mercedes and Porsche – that will immediately be in contention, plus 24 absolute top-class drivers.

"It’s great to see Formula E becoming increasingly professional and exciting. But this also makes it more difficult for all of us to win races or to even consistently clinch good results. We’ve prepared ourselves as best we can and are ready to race."

In pre-season testing last month in Valencia, the majority of the field was covered by less than one second, with 22 drivers landing within 0.966s of Maximilian Gunther's fastest time of the week.

With its e-Tron FE06 powertrain, Audi ended testing with the 16th and 17th-fastest laps of the week while only completing 303 laps - 98 laps less than BMW i Andretti Motorsport at the front of the field. In Season 5, Audi failed to defend its Season 4 Teams' Championship, trailing eventual champions DS Techeetah by 19 points.

The opening weekend of Formula E's sixth season will take place on November 22 and 23, with the series returning to Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, for the first two races of the 2019/20 campaign.