Lotterer handed 10-place grid penalty for Berlin

Andre Lotterer has been given a 10-place grid penalty for causing his final corner collision with Sam Bird during Formula E’s Paris ePrix.

Lotterer had been running second behind eventual race winner Jean-Eric Vergne on the final lap of the event when he ran out of energy as he battled Audi’s Lucas di Grassi.

Techeetah driver Lotterer slowed suddenly through the Circuit des Invalides' final sequence of corners and was overtaken by di Grassi before Bird slammed into the rear of his car just before the finish line.

Bird finished third, with the right-front wheel hanging off his DS Virgin Racing car, while Lotterer fell to sixth.

The stewards felt it was clear Lotterer had “turned left of the racing line” due to his energy shutdown, but added “he then rejoined the racing line causing [Bird] to hit the rear [of Lotterer]”.

“The stewards noted that immediately prior to the collision [Lotterer] attempted to move out of the way but it was too late,” continued the FIA bulletin.

In a separate announcement, Techeetah has been handed a €2,500 fine for releasing Lotterer from his car swap in an unsafe manner as “crew members were not clear of the car”.

Lotterer’s grid penalty will be taken at next month’s race in Berlin.

Explaining the events of the final lap after the race, Lotterer told Motorsport.com that running out of energy “cuts the power for you”.

“It just fades out initially and then it just cuts," he said. “[So] I was coasting and then Sam came with huge speed difference, obviously. 

“He went for the inside, I went for the line to try to make the corner and finish. It’s not an ideal situation, obviously, and it’s not nice to crash like that but that’s what Formula E is about. 

“You can get caught by surprise and when there is so much speed difference it can quickly go wrong.”

When asked if he could have moved out of Bird’s way, Lotterer said: “Everything happened so quick I didn’t know which side he was coming and I went for the inside and that was it. But in the end he finished third and I lost out.”

Speaking in the post-race press conference, Bird said “what we saw today from [Lotterer] is not correct.”

“You can’t do a late swerve when people are obviously going to be overtaken – it’s not correct, in any form of motorsport it’s not correct.”

Lotterer and Bird were also investigated for the former’s overtake to move up to second late on in the race’s second stint, but no further action was taken on that incident.

Di Grassi vocally complained on his team radio about Lotterer’s driving when the two came together at Turns 8 and 9 in the closing stages, and he also criticised the German driver in the press conference.

“That was the first time he touched my car, before he was waving around two or three or four times each straight – that was not very good behaviour. 

“Then when he ran out of energy just before corner 10, where I was going to overtake him, he also tried to block me without energy, which makes no sense and almost finished my race for the second time.”

Lotterer responded to di Grassi’s comments by saying: “That’s funny coming from him. I don’t know, I was just racing. 

“I don’t know what he was complaining about. He actually drove into me twice in this race. I don’t care what he says.” 

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About this article
Series Formula E
Event Paris ePrix
Track Streets of Paris
Drivers Andre Lotterer
Teams Techeetah
Article type Breaking news