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Formula E drivers criticise FIA over 'shocking' end to race

There were some controversial moments during the Diriyah E-Prix weekend, with some drivers voicing their surprise at how recovery vehicles were used.

Formula E drivers including Jean Eric Vergne have levelled criticism at the FIA over race control decisions made during the Diriyah E-Prix weekend. Vergne was vocal on social media following the events that unfolded in Saturday's race after Alexander Sims was forced to retire. After Sims hit a barrier in his Mahindra, the Safety Car was deployed whilst a recovery vehicle stopped on the circuit to collect the car. The race ended under the Safety Car. Later on, Vergne explained on Twitter that he was "shocked" by the incident. "Still shocked to see how the end of the race was handled," the Frenchman wrote. "A crain (sic) on track, a Safety Car stopping right before it in a blind corner resulting in cars piling up, no informations given to us… Seems like people don't learn from past mistakes." Vergne did not go into any further detail regarding his reference to "past mistakes", but the use of recovery vehicles has been an important consideration in regards to driver safety in all racing classes for some time. In Formula 1, Jules Bianchi suffered severe head injuries in an incident at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. The Frenchman slid off the track in damp conditions and hit a crane that was collecting the Sauber of Adrian Sutil, who had crashed in the same place one lap earlier. Bianchi later passed away in July 2015.

Formula E driver describes "quite dangerous" incident

Another Formula E driver, Robin Frijns, spoke of how having to navigate the recovery vehicle caused contact between some drivers, and labelled the incident as being "quite dangerous". "Obviously I was behind Edo [Edoardo Mortara] and suddenly the Safety Car stopped," Frijns was quoted by The Race . "I just hit him and then the only thing I hear behind me is carbon fibre cracking. Obviously the crane was in the middle of the track and the Safety Car had to stop. "I think it was not really well communicated in a way but for me we had quite enough space even if we drive over the marbles, which wasn't ideal as everybody was trying to clean up the tyres because they were thinking that the Safety Car would come in after two laps or so. "But I think the Safety Car was in a very awkward position to get it out of the way." Scot Elkins, Race Director of Formula E, said that he had been surprised by the recovery vehicle on track, and the fact that he was dealing with this situation meant that he was not as able to discuss the situation with the teams and drivers over the radio. "Obviously, it's not on purpose, and obviously there is a lot of communication during qualifying and we talked to everyone, but I think the circumstances were that I was surprised by something and we were trying to deal with it, as opposed to going on [radio] air and telling everybody," Elkins explained. "That's a little bit of a mea culpa that I'll take, I just got involved doing other things and didn't convey the information." Mortara won Saturday's race , whilst reigning World Champion Nyck de Vries clinched victory on Friday .


Still shocked to see how the end of the race was handled. A Crain on track, a safety car stopping right before it in a blind corner resulting in cars piling up, no informations given to us… seems like people don’t learn from past mistakes pic.twitter.com/QtMlkEomDZ — Jean-Eric Vergne (@JeanEricVergne) January 30, 2022

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