FIA adopts tougher stance on FE driver contact

The FIA is to take strict action on future contact between drivers in ABB FIA Formula E races starting from this weekend’s event in Rome, Motorsport.com can reveal.

FIA adopts tougher stance on FE driver contact

A new verbal warning system for drivers involved in incidents will also be introduced, which has been described as a “yellow card” by the FIA's circuit championships director, Frederic Bertrand.

But it is understood that if contact is severe enough to warrant an immediate investigation, this warning will be superseded and is not intended to act as a ‘joker’ factor for the drivers.

The governing body is taking action after driver clashes have made headlines in the majority of FE races so far in the 2018/19 season, with resulting sanctions then being criticised over the consistency of the punishments.

Over the first six races of the Gen2 era, the FIA has assessed that new car is significantly more robust that its predecessor and does not ‘self-punish’ drivers found to be at fault for causing incidents as it does not leave them with much damage.

It follows the five-second penalty handed to Sam Bird in Hong Kong for making contact with long-time race leader Andre Lotterer, and the similar punishment given to Sebastien Buemi for his late-race collision with Lucas di Grassi and Robin Frijns in Sanya.

The new approach was explained to the drivers at their pre-race briefing in Rome, and race stewards will now be expected to apply stricter sanctions to a driver found to be at fault for causing an incident.

“What we agreed with the team managers, with the team principals, and we exposed to the drivers, is clearly because of the [car strength] situation and [is intended] to calm down a little bit the bad feeling people start to have on having too much ‘touring car behaviour’ and not enough ‘single-seater behaviour’,” Bertrand explained to Motorsport.com.

“Just to compensate [for] the fact that the car is not breaking. That’s more or less the spirit. There is not an idea of changing, it’s just being stricter or being a little bit harder on some sanctions.

“We [will] increase communication between our race director and the teams, so that in case we see behaviours that he doesn’t like, he will be able to really inform them [and] have a warning system. 

“On top of this [the race director will] be able to report to the stewards as usual [anything] that we don’t like in case the [contact] is too harsh in the beginning and it can go straight to the sanctions.  But still there is a potential yellow card system, which could work. 

“The stewards are totally independent in the way that they decide – so we don’t want to interfere in the fact that they have to decide this or that. 

“We [just] ask them to take into consideration the fact that they must, within the rules, which are the current ones, be a little bit harder, so that we compensate and calm down the go kart effect a little bit.”

Oliver Rowland, Nissan e.Dams, Nissan IMO1, Jean-Eric Vergne, DS TECHEETAH, DS E-Tense FE19

Oliver Rowland, Nissan e.Dams, Nissan IMO1, Jean-Eric Vergne, DS TECHEETAH, DS E-Tense FE19

Photo by: Joe Portlock / LAT Images

shares
comments
Chris Hoy to drive Formula E demo car in Rome

Previous article

Chris Hoy to drive Formula E demo car in Rome

Next article

Rome E-Prix: Vergne fastest in disrupted practice

Rome E-Prix: Vergne fastest in disrupted practice
Load comments
Why consistency can't be relied upon for Formula E title success Prime

Why consistency can't be relied upon for Formula E title success

It's commonly upheld as the most straightforward method of racking up titles. But, due to the unique qualifying format used in Formula E, a consistent approach can actively work against a driver and make their life harder in races. So with four races to go, is now the time to ditch the tried-and-tested approach for a win-or-bust mentality?

Formula E
Jul 23, 2021
How Bird's crash recovery became Formula E's fairytale of New York Prime

How Bird's crash recovery became Formula E's fairytale of New York

After crashing in practice during the opening session at the New York City E-Prix, Sam Bird immediately had a recovery job on his hands. But the Jaguar driver rose through the order and secured victory in the second race - and with it, the championship lead. Here's how an Englishman in New York became top of the heap.

Formula E
Jul 12, 2021
Why Formula E is plotting a major change of philosophy Prime

Why Formula E is plotting a major change of philosophy

Formula E has become famed for its unpredictability, which can yield exciting races - but it can be argued that it robs the all-electric championship of a clear narrative and doesn't adequately reward the best drivers. The series wants to change that, and renew its philosophy ahead of the introduction of its next-generation car

Formula E
Jun 29, 2021
How Puebla gave Formula E's new points leader breathing space Prime

How Puebla gave Formula E's new points leader breathing space

With the usual Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez venue unavailable to Formula E, it visited the little Puebla circuit to keep its foot in the door in Mexico. A near-winner two years ago, Pascal Wehrlein looked in swaggering form throughout the weekend - but a breathless final encounter helped put Edoardo Mortara in the driving seat.

Formula E
Jun 21, 2021
The half-term report cards of each Formula E team in 2020-21 Prime

The half-term report cards of each Formula E team in 2020-21

In an eventful Formula E season, punctuated by rain and energy-conservation controversy, the 12 teams contesting the championship have endured many challenges in the opening seven races. Here's how they've got on across the first half of the season.

Formula E
May 26, 2021
How Formula E stood up to F1 comparisons in Monaco Prime

How Formula E stood up to F1 comparisons in Monaco

OPINION: It was no surprise to anybody that the laptimes achieved by Formula E cars on the full Monaco circuit were much slower than Formula 1. But perhaps the more relevant comparison was in the racing spectacle, where FE delivered in spades.

Formula E
May 12, 2021
How Monaco dealt Formula E a winning hand to cure its hangover Prime

How Monaco dealt Formula E a winning hand to cure its hangover

Formula E faced much criticism in the wake of its maligned Valencia event. In need of a turnaround, the series' first use of Monaco's iconic Formula 1 layout provided it with the injection of thrills required to clear the fog that had enveloped the paddock.

Formula E
May 11, 2021
Why Formula E's Valencia fiasco undermines engineering talent Prime

Why Formula E's Valencia fiasco undermines engineering talent

FIA president Jean Todt wanted more Formula E coverage in the media, and got his wish when the opening Valencia E-Prix proved farcical. Despite attempts to spin the race as teams failing to get their sums right, Formula E and its governing body cannot escape blame - especially when trying to get teams to commit long-term.

Formula E
Apr 27, 2021