Early penalties in Mexico

Round 5 of this year’s ABB FIA Formula E Championship will be run later today in Mexico City, but already before the race action starts, the stewards have been busy.

If we start in the milder area, then Lucas di Grassi at Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler has received a 10-grid penalty for once again changing the inverter on his car. The team did so, too, in Marrakesh, after having loads of troubles with it during the first rounds of the Championship. They believed that this could solve the problems, but they had to do it again in Mexico.

Both DS Virgin Racing drivers, Sam Bird and Alex Lynn, will also be starting 10 places further back than their qualifying results. The two drivers had to change their gearboxes for the second time this season, and since their joker was already used in Santiago and Marrakesh respectively, they receive a penalty this time.

ABB FIA Formula E Championship, Mexico City 2018
Photo: Zak Mauger/LAT/Formula E

And then we get on to the expensive ones.

Dragon Racing, Renault e.dams, Panasonic Jaguar Racing and Venturi Formula E Team have all received a fine of 5000 Euro plus 3500 suspended for the rest of the season, in case they get caught again. The reason for the fine is because they all use some radio frequencies between 5 and 6 GHz, which might interfere with the ones that the FIA use to monitor the cars. The technical team receives live telemetry from the cars, to monitor the battery percentage and how much re-gen and power that the car uses. That is to check that nobody exceeds the 180/200 kW limits of power usage during qualifying and the race. If you exceed those limits, the drivers will receive a penalty due to too high power consumption, just like we know with the fuel flow metres in Formula 1 and FIA WEC.

Andretti Formula E was actually caught doing the same during the scrutineering ahead of the Mexico race, but they have a dispensation from 2016 to use those frequencies, and that is still valid. So they wasn’t hit by any penalty.

Furthermore the seat belts rules have been specified, following the confusing in Santiago, when the minimum pitstop times were no longer in place, and car swaps from then onwards can happen as fast as the drivers can get in and out of the cars.

Jean-Eric Vergne currently leads the Championship ahead of Felix Rosenqvist and Sam Bird. Those three has got a jump on the rest of the field, but the lights of Sebastien Buemi and Nelson Piquet Jr on the following places, might be able to jump into top-3 with a win plus some bonus points at this round.

We have to wait until tonight to see if the race gets just as dramatic. The race starts 23.00 CET.

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