Today’s Formula E race saw a controversial move made by Lucas di Grassi under the Safety Car. The move allowed the Brazilian to steal P1 from Stoffel Vandoorne, however, the stewards deemed the move illegal which heavily compromised his race.
The Safety Car was brought out after a collision between Andre Lotterer and Antonio Felix da Costa. It was noted by all that the Safety Car was moving exceptionally slowly in order to help clean up the track quicker. The Brazilian driver took advantage of the slow-moving vehicle and made a smart strategic decision of diving into the pits. The speed allowed in the pit lane was much quicker than the Safety Car and would have allowed any driver who pitted at the time to take the lead of the race.
This ingenious move did not come to fruition and saw di Grassi having to face a drive-through penalty as a consequence. Audi decided against serving it in the hopes of having a discussion with the regulatory body afterward. Subsequently, the Audi driver was shown a black flag at the end of the race.
Audi team principal Allan McNish has spoken out regarding the penalty. Soon after the race came to an end, McNish said that the team was of the opinion that di Grassi had come to a complete stop: “We believe he did, they believe he didn’t.
“Basically, we were in quite a unique situation here in London that the pitlane is quite short and also the safety car was unusually slow and in reality, it was quicker to go through the pitlane, which the regulations do allow.
“Lucas comes to a stop and accelerates out. We were quite surprised how much time he actually gained as it turned out but unfortunately the stewards deemed that he didn’t stop the car sufficiently enough by [the standards of a full] stop-stop.
“However, the drive-through is not something you can appeal in this situation so unfortunately, we are in a situation where we have to review all the regulations now.”
Unfortunately, they cannot confirm that the car had come to a complete halt till the car is back in their garage.
“We haven’t got the data from the car. That’s one of the issues with Formula E is that we’ve got to wait until the car comes back to be able to download the exact data so we would be doing that in due course.”
He concluded by saying that they do not share the same opinion as the stewards but still, they respect the decision as they do not strive to break any rules.
“We are visually standing here and they are looking at the data. From that point of view, the cameras that you saw [on TV] are actually behind the sign, so it’s very difficult to see and our guys were looking at it very clearly.
“We understand and know the regulations extremely well and we abide [by] it and we believe by the regulations. However, the judges are fact, in this case, and the stewards believe otherwise.”