Mess in Formula E: ‘If I try to explain it to my mother, she will not understand’

The Formula E It is an exciting and tremendously matched electric competition, full of overtaking in the centers of some of the most emblematic cities in the world, on narrow paths full of walls. However, due to the current pandemic, it was found in the Ricardo Tormo Circuit of
Cheste a good opportunity to make a double date this weekend to be able to run without risks related to Covid-19. However, the length of the track and its long straight made it clear from the start that all the riders made it clear that the key to everything on this track would be energy management. Pulling too hard could mean not having enough power in the car to get to the finish. But if we add to this that

Saturday’s race was crazy due to the rain and the 4 safety cars, the matter would get much more complicated.

Under safety car regime, Race direction takes energy out of the cars so that they do not reach the finish in abundance, thus giving more excitement to the fight for positions on the track and keeping the importance of managing this energy throughout the test. However, the problem was that, with a ‘safety car’ a few minutes before the end of Saturday’s race in Valencia, things got complicated.

A current Formula E race lasts 45 minutes + 1 lap. But when the safety car left, it was about 20 seconds until the 45 minutes were completed. If the cars had slowed down behind the safety car, there would only have been one turn left. However, they crossed the finish line earlier and had to complete 2 laps. This, together with the loss of energy that was applied to the cars by decision of the race direction, made everyone come with their tongues out.

Da Costa: “It’s a shame for the championship, that’s the truth”

The most extreme case was that of Da Costa, who after comfortably leading the race, lost the victory when crossing the finish line in the absence of a turn without energy, having to give up a victory that he already had in his hands, something unacceptable for the Portuguese driver of DS
Techeetah, who before the Spanish press showed his anger at what happened, although biting his tongue before receiving more explanations from the FIA.

“The problem is that I still don’t know what exactly happened. I know that the FIA ​​took energy from us all the same, 3 kilowatts from one lap to the next. Normally they take one from us per minute and they will take 3 … I don’t want to talk much because I don’t have all the information. But the truth is that pAs a matter of being calm, first, with the possibility that he will have to fight De Vries, who has a little more energy, but had the pace to be in front. And in my head I went from thinking that to ‘I’m not going to finish’ “, commented the current Formula E world champion.

“This is not the idea of ​​Formula E. It is a shame for the championship, that’s the truth, because it was an important day for us in terms of the championship, for the first time racing on a real circuit, I’m sure we had new people who were watching the race wanting to see what Formula E really is, and this is what we give them ”, he added, resigned.

“If it had only been a pilot, well, it is that the management has not done well, but when it happens to 13 or 14 … well, the truth is that it happened to all but there are some who were given the indication earlier and they arrived. Slow, but they arrived ”, he added, highlighting that in the future, these types of decisions related to the extraction of energy from the cars should be communicated to the drivers at the same time and with time to react on the track and choose their strategy.

De Vries, winner of Saturday’s race in Valencia after the controversial final

Di Grassi asks for solutions

That is what Lucas Di Grassi claimed, another of the many affected by the race direction decision.

“The rules are very complex. I try to explain to my mother what happened and she won’t understand. It is impossible. Personally, I prefer the rules to be simpler and easier to apply. The FIA ​​rules in Formula E are very complex, sometimes not very clear and sometimes you doubt whether the race director can do one thing or another. I would make them clearer and simpler ”.

“In the dry it was expected to be critical for energy management and in the rain, much less. The problem is that with the rain we have the problem of doubting the laps at the end, one or two. The problem has been that in a normal race, without safety cars, that would never happen ”, he added.

“According to the rules, the race director, in the last 5 laps, can change the energy or not. We only know it when the FIA ​​sends the signal to the car. So if you try to save a lot of energy in the relaunch and energy is not removed, everyone happens to you. And if you try to accelerate and then they take energy away, then you run out of it. For this reason, it is necessary to clearly know what the Clerk of the Course is going to do “, clarified the Brazilian.

In this sense, Di grassi He believes that the solution so that things like this Saturday do not happen again would be to return to racing by laps and not by time: “What would I do? I would put it like in the first seasons, by turns. For me, a lap race is much better. A race for time can change a lot. You can do one lap more or less, today can happen and it is easier for laps ”.

The FIA ​​defends itself and Da Costa is outraged

For his part, the director of innovative sports projects of the FIA, Frederic bertrand He responded in statements to ‘’ to the criticism, highlighting that there were 6 drivers who did know how to manage their energy until the end and that the end of Saturday’s race shows how difficult it is to win in this competition.

As for Da Costa, Bertrand questioned the Portuguese’s decision not to slow down further after the last safety car so that there would only be one lap to go instead of two.

“This is not the image we normally have at the end of the race. Something like that could happen the same with fuel or whatever. In the end, you give an amount of energy to drive and if you get that amount, and you go beyond that, you are in trouble. We don’t think this is the kind of end of the race that we would like to have every weekend. Once was enough, and I hope everyone has learned and it never happens again. Are we afraid of the impact? On the one hand, yes. There will always be a lot of people saying that it is a frustrating end to the race. What is clear is that we hope this is the lesson for all of us so that we no longer face these types of problems, “he added.

However, Da Costa’s response would not be long in coming. Before, before the Spanish press, the Portuguese said that he considered slowing down the march to make there only one lap instead of two. But that his team told him to shoot. And after seeing Bertrand’s statements, he made his position clear on Twitter: “I’m sorry, but I can’t accept this. If I go EVEN slower with Safety Car, how many teams would have protested a complaint against me in the end? And also, if I go slower, they would have reduced us more energy. Today it was only in the hands of the FIA ​​to save us all from this “.