Andre Lotterer has received a hard penalty following today’s ABB FIA Formula E Championship race in Paris.
The 36 year-old German was involved in several battles throughout the day, but it was just the one that he got penalized for.
A few corners before the finishing line, the Techeetah driver ran out of power. The Formula E car are constructed in such way that they don’t just power down, but goes into an emergency programme, where they can’t drive very fast. That gives the driver a chance to get the car out of the way, and park it in a safe place, in case he runs out of power.
When Lotterer ran out of power, he was positioned P2 in the race. The driver in third, Lucas Di Grassi, made it cleanly past him, while the driver in fourth, Sam Bird, ended up clipping the rear of Lotterer’s car, ripping off his own front wheel, while Lotterer lost the rear wing.
The stewards decided post race that Lotterer caused a collision and, in their words, drove back on the racing line, which resulted Sam Bird in crashing into him. Their judgement was that Lotterer was on the way to pull off the track, when he suddenly pulled right in front of Bird.
The decision was that Andre Lotterer will have a a 10-grid penalty for the Berlin race.
It’s not clear if the stewards has given Lotterer an extra severe penalty since he is the teammate of the Championship leading Jean-Eric Vergne, and Sam Bird is the main contender to Vergne.
If you look at it from Lotterer’s point of view, he might not even have known that Bird came from behind, and Bird just dived for a gap that didn’t exist. Since there was plenty of room for more than one car, at that spot of the track, Bird could potentially just have overtaken him, or slowed down and waiting to see where Lotterer’s car was actually going, and then made a safe pass.
But that wasn’t the view of the stewards, who gave Lotterer the full blame.
So it’s unlikely that Andre Lotterer will be on the podium of his home race in three weeks time in Berlin. But the ABB FIA Formula E Championship is full of surprises, so never say never.