Worst accident in Formula E history: Rome too dangerous?

The pile-up at Saturday’s Formulation E race in Rome was one of many worst accidents within the historical past of the electrical collection. As late as Sunday night, some observers within the paddock had been stunned that no driver was injured within the crash and praised the security construction of the brand new Gen3 chassis manufactured by Dallara.

The accident in flip 6 brought on by a spin by Sam Fowl (Jaguar) triggered six untimely retirements and made it mandatory to switch the security cell at brief discover in 4 automobiles. The pit lane was like a junkyard on Saturday night, a number of groups stayed late at evening and screwed up till the early hours of the morning.

Rome: Worst accident in Formulation E historical past: (05:10 min.)

After an accident: Fowl calls for a change of route

In Sunday’s race, no extra accidents occurred on the level talked about on the observe – instead a corner further in Turn 7 – however the safety facet stays a serious concern. Amongst different issues, crash set off Fowl on Sunday after his podium success referred to as for a change for the approaching 12 months.

“I spoke to Alberto Longo (co-founder of Formulation E) concerning the floor circumstances in Flip 6,” mentioned the Briton on the winner’s press convention. “It is gotten loads trickier with the velocity of the Gen3 automobiles and the stiffness of the tires. Rome makes for excellent Formulation E racing, however that is an space to take care of.”

In flip 6, which is in an uphill space, a number of potential hazards come collectively: On the one hand, the curve is ‘blind’, so the exit when coming into the curve can’t be seen. By the way in which, the way in which up the mountain makes for poor visibility. As well as, an embedded manhole cowl subsequent to the best line ensures quite a few bumps on either side of the observe. And final however not least, the automobiles with as much as 350 kW (476 hp) attain round 210 km/h on this space.

After Rome Accident: Memoirs of Fatal Spa Crash

“This is the most dangerous corner on this circuit,” said former Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi (Mahindra). “It’s very fast and there’s no space for a run-off zone. It’s a bit reminiscent of the Eau Rouge scenario, the corner is completely blind. It’s difficult to judge whether a car is blocking the track or not.”

Di Grassi wasn’t the only driver to compare this stretch of track to the famous Formula 1 circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. The motorsport world continues to be impacted by the fatal accident of junior driver Dilano van ‘t Hoff during a Formula Regional European Championship race on July 1st.

Robin Frijns (Abt-Cupra) said on ProSieben: “I haven’t forgotten what happened to Dilano in Spa a few weeks ago. He also stood across when another car came. It was the same with Sam. That’s the scariest thing , what can happen.” In Rome, after crashing into the wall, Bird was standing sideways and in the middle of the lane when he was rammed hard in the rear by Sebastien Buemi (Envision) and on the side by Edoardo Mortara (Maserati) with full force. A so-called T-bone accident.

Sam Bird's completely destroyed Jaguar in Rome, Photo: LAT Images

Sam Bird’s completely destroyed Jaguar in Rome, Photo: LAT Images

Felix da Costa: ‘The scariest moment of my life’

Fans and drivers still cringe at the scene. Buemi even got into trouble after the hit, and his car briefly caught fire for reasons that are still unknown. Abt pilot Frijns quick-wittedly grabbed the fire extinguisher. Antonio Felix da Costa (Porsche) was also lucky, driving behind the Swiss and almost getting caught under Envision, who had flown off.

Felix da Costa: “It was the scariest moment of my life! Buemi and I were the first to get there. We had nowhere else to go. I’m just happy to be here and with you (the media; ed .) to be able to speak. I just closed my eyes and let go of the steering wheel. I was really shaking in the car!”

Rome danger spot: Three accidents in turn 6

Bird wasn’t the first rider to fall victim to the bumps at Turn 6 on lap nine of the race. On lap 2, Andre Lotterer (Andretti) had an accident at a similar point, but his incident ended much more lightly. The Formula E drivers were already warned after the previous qualifying session, in which Jake Hughes also crashed his McLaren violently in turn 6 and missed Saturday’s race.

“I hit the bump there at a slightly different angle than before,” explained Rene Rast’s British team-mate. “As a result, the car jumped in the middle. There is a big camber on the left-hand side of the track and if you lose it, the car slides into the wall. That was a mistake on my part in the bumpiest high-speed corner on the race calendar.”

Jake Hughes destroys his McLaren in Rome Photo: LAT Images

Jake Hughes destroys his McLaren in Rome Photo: LAT Images

Günther: There is only one line in the accident curve

Most of the passages in this corner passed without major difficulties during the hot Rome weekend (40 degrees on Sunday). But when it crashed there, then right. Due to the nature of the asphalt, the drivers had practically only one driving line. Anyone who deviated from it only slightly ran the risk of losing control.

“From my point of view there are two problems on the track,” explained Maximilian Günther (Maserati), who finished on the podium on Saturday Motorsport-Magazin.com. “On the one hand, too few run-off zones on important sections of the route. And on the other hand, the accident curve, in which there is only one line. If you don’t hit that, you have a big problem and can go through the lane on the right as well as on the left Bumps are levered out.”

Müller: “Then you can stay in the hotel right away…”

Now, outsiders might argue that it’s the driver’s responsibility to decide how much speed to take into that corner. In reality, however, it is not as simple as Nico Müller (Abt-Cupra) does Motorsport-Magazin.com
argued: “We decide for ourselves how much we risk. But if you are just one percent over the limit in this curve, the consequences are huge. The competition here is so tough. If you decide to leave two tenths there, you can you stay in the hotel right away because you won’t achieve anything. Maybe this curve isn’t the right compromise between risk and opportunity anymore.”

Bird accident with 350 kW – no more full throttle curve with Gen3

Some sections of the route – which are actually public roads – were resurfaced before the race weekend, but the course of the curves has not changed compared to last year. But one thing in particular was new on the fifth Formula E visit to the Eternal City: the significantly faster racing cars. Bird had even activated his attack mode on lap 8 and was running with the full power of 350 kW instead of the usual 300 kW in race trim. The Briton had over 200 km/h on the clock when he lost control and hit both sides.

“With the Gen2 cars, it was a full-throttle passage,” said Mahindra driver Di Grassi. “It wasn’t easy, but it was possible. Because of the higher performance of the Gen3 cars and the lower grip, it’s now a real corner where the car moves. Even in qualifying, you couldn’t go flat out here.”

There were no changes overnight in Rome, on Sunday the identical track layout was used. However, under the impression of the serious accident, there were considerations to slow down this area with yellow flags, for example. The FIA ​​specialists will inspect the mass crash in detail and make any necessary changes for the return of Formula E in April 2024. Several drivers have already raised the issue internally at the World Motor Sport Association.

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Printed : 2023-07-18 13:46:00

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