Motorsport is dangerous, but thanks to the constant improvements in the safety equipment, the sport has never been safer than it is today.
So the scrutineers clamp down heavily, if somebody isn’t taking the safety seriously, and they get caught.
The technical scrutineers at the ABB FIA Formula E Championship round in Punta del Este had extra focus on the safety, since they found some of the teams were a bit creative during the last few rounds, with their safety harnesses during the mandatory car swaps.
Post race they decided to check the underwear of the drivers finishing in top 3, and they found non-conforming clothes on Lucas di Grassi.
The reigning Formula E Champion didn’t wear the approved underwear, but instead wore only short underwear pants, which isn’t homologated by the FIA.
Some might say – yeah, but there is no fuel involved in Formula E, so why do they have to wear fireproof clothes?
But the batteries in the cars can actually spontaneously combust. That happened to Nico Prost’s car in Montreal last year, while the car was in Parc Ferme. If we go a few years back, Williams F1 had a fire in their KERS equipment, during the Formula 1 race in Barcelona.
The problem with batteries, is that a potential fire can develop into a huge fireball. So it is very important for the drivers, to wear the correct amount of layers of fireproof clothes.
The FIA stewards in Punta de Este chose to give Lucas di Grassi a fine of 10.000 Euro plus 3 penalty points, which could end out in a suspension from one or more events, in case he collects enough of those points. That can happen in collisions or other things happening on the track, which are the normal ways for a driver to receive such points.
But why race in short underwear? Well, you prefer shorts and t-shirt when the temperature gets near 30 degrees, like it was in the race last Saturday. But that isn’t allowed when you are competing in a motor race – no matter if it’s electric or fossil fuelled.