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Formula E

Concerns grow over stewarding consistency

McLaren's Jake Hughes received a five-second time penalty in the second race of last weekend's inaugural Misano E-Prix.

Misano
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To news overview © Alastair Staley / Formula E

Jake Hughes has become the latest driver to question the consistency of the FIA stewarding in Formula E, following last weekend's inaugural Misano E-Prix double-header.

The level of stewarding has been a substantial talking point across the seven completed rounds this season, with some drivers feeling that similar incidents are resulting in different outcomes by the FIA.

Jean-Eric Vergne and Mitch Evans were just two of the drivers to speak out against the stewards in Misano. Vergne received a five-second time penalty for "causing a collision" with Nick Cassidy.

The two-time Formula E champion – who recently spoke in support of Max Verstappen – was judged to have forced Cassidy into a wall, yet for a similar incident with Evans back in Diriyah, no investigation even took place.

Vergne labelled his penalty last Saturday as the "most unfair" in his motorsport career, whereas Evans criticised the amount of dangerous driving which went unpunished.

Drivers have questioned the consistency of the stewards at every round this season, with Hughes becoming the latest addition.

The McLaren star received a five-second time penalty last Sunday, with the FIA stating Hughes "did not respect the track limits and gained an advantage overtaking car 7 by going off track".

Car 7 is Maserati's Maximilian Günther, who was on Hughes' inside at the one-line Turn 8 & 9 chicane. Hughes was forced to skip the chicane and go through the gravel, something several drivers did during the weekend.

Hughes felt that he was forced off the circuit as he would have crashed if he turned in to the chicane. Skipping the chicane was the British driver's option to avoid contact or a heavy accident; however, he understands why it was investigated.

Like several other drivers though, his concern is that there are occasions where forcing the contact is the better option, as it is possible to get away with not being penalised.

Getting away with contact

"I mean, for trying not to look biased, because, of course, I'm going to be, I can understand why it's investigated," Hughes told RacingNews365, when asked if he agreed with the investigation.

"I wouldn't say that it shouldn't be investigated. My side of things, I would say, I was ahead before braking with a car that was de-rating, and he [Günther] released the brake to try to regain the position back on the inside.

"And I'm forced to have a decision to make, which was either turn in and potentially crash, which looked like that was on the cards, or release the brake and cut through this chicane.

"So I would class this as underneath the brackets of forcing someone off-track, even if the contact doesn't exist.

"It's one of those things, it feels like sometimes if you get contact then you get away with it, if that makes sense? "But it's not always what you want, because you risk getting damaged."

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