Driver criticism prompts Ad Diriyah attack mode change

The attack mode activation zone for the ABB FIA Formula E Ad Diriyah E-Prix has been moved after consultation with the championship’s drivers.

Driver criticism prompts Ad Diriyah attack mode change

Several drivers, including reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne, criticised the placement of the zone, which is situated at the exit of Turn 17 at the season-opening circuit, and that corner feeds onto the track's main straight.

The off-line activation area is located to the right-hand side of the corner exit and houses the three timing loops that the drivers must run over to activate the attack mode.

The zone has been moved 23m closer to the start line – where the race will get underway on the straight between the uphill Turn 17 and the big braking zone at the right of Turn 18.

The painted white lines that signal the start and end points of the zone have also been “increased in size for better visibility”, according to an FIA bulletin.

"After discussion in the driver briefing, the attack zone has been relocated appropriately 23 meters closer to the start line from the original location,” read the bulletin.

“Effectively, the original ‘exit line’ of the zone is now the ‘entry line’.”

When asked about the changes, Vergne told Motorsport.com that “it’s a bit better”.

“It’s good that they responded, the only thing that I hope is that in the future they tell us what they want exactly, like if we [are supposed to] lose one second, two seconds,” the DS Techeetah driver continued.

“We have the simulator, we know what is dangerous or not, and obviously this place was not right. [But] they all realised it.

“I’m happy they changed it, but in the future I hope they can contact us and check with the drivers first.”

Raft of penalties transforms grid

Tom Dillmann, NIO Formula E Team, NIO Sport 004

Tom Dillmann, NIO Formula E Team, NIO Sport 004

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

Tom Dillmann has lost his front row start for the race for not respecting the maximum number of laps in qualifying.

The NIO driver has been excluded from qualifying and will start last alongside his teammate Oliver Turvey, who has been relegated because of a missing sensor on the FIA datalogger.

But Dillmann has escaped punishment for “assumed non respect of the red flag”, per an FIA bulletin, during practice.

The NIO drivers will now start 21st and 22nd with Dillmann bringing up the rear of the field.

“Due to the weather conditions the driver was unable to enter the pits in a safe way, when the red flag was displayed,” read the bulletin.

Also penalised after qualifying were Audi’s Lucas di Grassi, and Virgin Racing drivers Sam Bird and Robin Frijns.

All three drivers had their best times in qualifying deleted going over the maximum power allowance of 250kW on their flying laps.

In statements, both teams blamed “a power overshoot hitting a bump” and they claimed there was “no performance gain”. Virgin is an Audi powertrain customer.

Di Grassi will start 18th, ahead of the two Virgin cars.

Nissan e.dams rookie Oliver Rowland also lost his best lap from qualifying and will start 14th.

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