Formula E Hong Kong ePrix: Mahindra Racing Suffer Double Retirement
Dragon Racing's Felipe Nasr crashed into the wall at the second turn of the street circuit and both the Mahindra Racing cars hit the tail from behind.
Image used for representation. (Image: Mahindra Racing)
India's Mahindra Racing endured a nightmarish weekend in the Hong Kong leg of the Formula E Championship as both their drivers were forced to retire after coming into contact with an opponent's crashing car. Jerome D'Ambrosio, who was leading the drivers' standings till this fifth leg of the season, and Pascal Wehrlein were out of the race few minutes after the start for no fault of theirs. Dragon Racing's Felipe Nasr crashed into the wall at the second turn of the street circuit and both the Mahindra Racing cars hit the tail from behind. Nasr's car was already spewing smoke while manoeuvring through a maze of vehicles in a chaotic start and it clouded the visibility of the fellow drivers under overcast conditions.
The Harbourfront Street Circuit has been a happy hunting ground for Mahindra Racing with three podium finishes in the last three seasons but it was fourth time unlucky for the team. A poor qualification had already put the Mahindra Racing drivers -- Jerome and Pascal -- under pressure as they began from 21st and 22nd position. This was the second time Mahindra Racing ended without a podium finish this season. Jerome and Pascal ended fourth and fifth in Mexico City in the fourth leg.
A furious Jerome later laid the blame on the Dragon Racing driver. "I think it was obvious that there was an issue with Nasr's car as there was smoke coming out of it, so Dragon should have brought him into the pits, made the car safe and then sent him out. In my opinion, they caused a dangerous collision and that needs looking at," Jerome said. "It's disappointing because we knew there would be incidents today that we could have tried to take advantage of but, unfortunately, it happened to us. We have to pick ourselves back up and focus on the next race,” said the 33-year-old from Belgium.
Pascal said there was no way for him to avoid the accident as the car in front of him crashed into the wall. "We have to work hard now to make sure our car is competitive in wet conditions because we know we have got the pace in the dry. So we learn from this and move on to Sanya in China (next race on March 23), said the 24-year-old German.
Team Principal Dilbagh Singh said Dragon Racing has apologised for the incident. "It's unfortunate that on the celebration of 50 races for Mahindra Racing it turned into the shortest race of our Formula E history. Dragon Racing officials have come and apologised to us, saying that it was their fault and not ours. It is racing and it happens. We have to move on," he said.
The crash brought a full-course yellow flag and the safety car, and then a red flag with the race stopped for over 20 minutes. The day also began on a disappointing note with both Jerome and Pascal finishing the qualifying at the back of the grid. Both were in the first group of six cars which took the road in the morning qualifying on a wet track after two days of heavy rain here. The wet track had an impact on the qualifying result as none of the drivers in the first group did well. The track gradually dried up as the qualifying session progressed.
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