FIA to close FE loophole that allowed di Grassi to take race lead

The FIA will close the “loophole” that allowed Lucas di Grassi to controversially lead the London E-Prix but there is “no big deal” that he overtook seven cars from the pitlane.

Audi driver di Grassi climbed from eighth into the lead when he travelled through the 50km/h limited short London ExCeL pitlane during a particularly slow safety car period.

While allowed under the rules, di Grassi did not come to a complete stop in the pitbox and so was dealt a drive-through penalty, which was not served, before being disqualified altogether.

A similar pattern emerged in Berlin last season when both Mahindra Racing cars gained places by hitting the pitlane during a full-course yellow.

While the rules were amended in response, the same loophole was not closed for full safety car interventions, which allowed Audi to execute its strategy that almost returned the win.

Frederic Bertrand, the FIA director of Formula E, said that the rule pertaining to the full safety car - Article 38.11, which reads: “the pit lane entry and exit remain open and cars are free to pit provided that they stop in front of their pit” – will now receive similar treatment.

"It's true that we will have to modify again, so that we adapt and close the potential loophole which may have happened here," Bertrand told Motorsport.com.

Read Also:

The teams lobbied the FIA to keep the pitlane open during a safety car, unlike in many other series, so that drivers could pit for repairs.

When pressed, Bertrand would not entertain a scenario in which di Grassi did come to a full stop and would have won the race with a strategy call that he admitted to being impressed by.

“It didn't happen in reality because they didn't do it properly,” he said “But in any case, we will need to react and change it also.

“I cannot say what would happen if he had [done] something right.

“For the moment, the only thing which is important is that… it did not work. But it could have been an interesting scene from a pure racing point of view.”

This is the latest in a string of controversies in 2021 created by the FIA rules, including the mass retirements and slowing cars in Valencia caused by drivers exceeding their useable energy limits.

Asked if events at the ExCeL Centre had presented Formula E with another image problem after people took to social media to poke fun at the series, Bertrand said: “That's another subject for me.

“There is no big deal on the fact that [Audi] had to move and get away from where they were [in the pack].

“The issue for me is right now in terms of global image is more there on what happened in the pitlane, which didn't happen at the end properly. For me, the case is closed on that side.

“We will make sure that we don't risk additional [moves] for the future.

“But the real issue is more on the fact that they didn't stop at the moment they had to.

“They then, for sure, led the race for a while and even went to the end as well, which shouldn't have happened at all.”

shares
comments
Lynn: Lack of Formula E wins had "tortured me for many years"
Previous article

Lynn: Lack of Formula E wins had "tortured me for many years"

Next article

Da Costa slams “sore loser” Lotterer after London FE clash

Da Costa slams “sore loser” Lotterer after London FE clash
Load comments
De Vries: Why Formula E title success felt so different to F2 Prime

De Vries: Why Formula E title success felt so different to F2

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was wide open until the final race after its most unpredictable season yet. Eventual champion Nyck de Vries explains why this made his title-winning experience such a different experience to conquering F2 in 2019

Formula E
Dec 7, 2021
Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong Prime

Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong

Formula E welcomes a mix of past, present and future for the 2021-22 season. The old guard facing off against a sprinkling of newcomers, a fresh qualifying format amid a sporting rules shake-up and a range of minor tweaks to the existing all-electric machines are all subplots to the final campaign before the next generation arrives

Formula E
Dec 3, 2021
The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two FE teams Prime

The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two FE teams

Electing not to share data with its competitive customer team would have been a straightforward means of gaining an edge on at least one of Mercedes' Formula E rivals last season. But by reciprocating the relationship forged under its initial HWA guise, when it was a customer to Venturi, both teams have reaped the rewards

Formula E
Nov 30, 2021
How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait Prime

How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait

With its ultra-successful sister team in Formula 1 and a support network providing some of the best minds and resources in the business, Mercedes Formula E team principal Ian James knew his squad had all the winning ingredients. But mixing it together was no easy feat and required key attributes to be grown from within

Formula E
Nov 29, 2021
How Formula E's polarising newcomer Ticktum can prove himself Prime

How Formula E's polarising newcomer Ticktum can prove himself

OPINION: Few figures in racing today divide opinion like Dan Ticktum. The Formula 2 race winner now has the chance to wipe his professional slate clean with his move into Formula E, but it won't be easy at the squad which has brought up the rear for the past three years. Here are the three key criteria he must meet to make a lasting impression on the series.

Formula E
Nov 27, 2021
How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E Prime

How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E

By virtue of its Formula 1 success, Mercedes was expected to rise to power in Formula E before long. That it won both the drivers' and manufacturers' championships this year, after only two seasons as a full works effort, belies a tricky path littered with potential pitfalls

Formula E
Nov 26, 2021
Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive Prime

Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive

OPINION: Circuit racing has traditionally favoured front- or rear-wheel-drive setups, eschewing the equal distribution of power. But for Formula E and other electric-powered series, our columnist believes it’s a perfect fit.

Formula E
Oct 13, 2021
How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success Prime

How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success

The Wolffs have carved their own paths in motorsport, leading their respective teams to success in Formula 1 and Formula E. But the two came together last month as their drivers finished first and second in the FE drivers' championship - a feat they are hugely proud of. In a rare joint interview, they reflect on a remarkable season

Formula E
Sep 21, 2021