Formula E drivers Nico Muller and Robin Frijns have challenged two rules that ruined their qualifying for the first race of the season. Muller (Dragon Penske Autosport) set a very good qualifying time at the Riyadh Street Circuit, which initially propelled him into Superpole.
But then he and fellow driver Nick Cassidy were knocked out of contention for Superpole, while Tom Blomqvist lost out on seventh place. Formula E’s reasoning was that “he had not reduced speed under double yellow flags on his only flying lap after an incident at turn 21. ” This was caused by Dragon teammate Sergio Sette Camara, who touched the wall and damaged a sensor, which then caused the rear braking system to fail permanently.
Muller was not very pleased with his demotion on the grid:
In nice English that rule is a big f*** up.Nico Muller, Dragon Penske Autosport
He also added: “We recovered from the crash very well in group qualifying without having any full power laps in free practice one on Thursday either. It was aborted, let’s say.
“Today I didn’t even do a 235kW nor 250kW higher power run and then to normally make it into Superpole was great, but as everybody knows we got that lap time taken away.”
Robin Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing) missed qualifying completely after getting a red flag in the second practice session when he crashed with 90 seconds remaining. He lost the rear and went into the outer boundary and then skidded into the wall on the right front. The impact triggered a G-force sensor, which meant the car’s battery had to be changed, despite the team’s assurances that it was otherwise fully repaired for qualifying.
Robin Frijns reacted very surprisedly to the decision: “I completely disagree with that because I’ve had some big crashes, not that much, in my career and this definitely was not a big one.
“I completely don’t understand. I went first rear end and then front. It was not a frontal one where you stand still within a metre. I disagree with the fact it was so big, and they needed to change the battery. The sensor said so. It was definitely not major.”
Muller decided to start the race from the pit lane, but the Dragon showed too little race pace and finished 21st. Frijns, on the other hand, drove from 24th on the grid. and last starting position to 17th place.