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Fastest Lap Change Right Call, Say Drivers

The criteria for the additional point of a fastest lap in the FIA Formula E Championship has changed for the fourth season of the championship.

Photo: Formula E

The criteria for the additional point of a fastest lap in the FIA Formula E Championship has changed for the fourth season of the championship.

The fastest lap point will still be available for the 2017/18 season but only to cars finishing in the top ten classified positions.

The change comes after widespread dissatisfaction among teams, drivers and organizers. This was because the extra point was often awarded to cars that had been delayed early in the race and were effectively out of the running meaning they often had no limitation on the amount of energy they could use.

These ‘zombie’ cars would therefore have just have setting the fastest lap as there only motivation, whether they finished the race or not.

Drivers often felt that this was a poor system as it opened the potential for drivers chasing a fastest lap point to impede drivers still fighting for position.

Maro Engel, who scored the fastest lap point in two such circumstances in Berlin and New York for Venturi last season, believes that the right call has been made to make the regulation change.

“The change definitely makes sense and it is probably more fitting to what the rules was actually designed for which is for drivers to take a chance, consume more energy and bag an extra point,” Engel told e-racing365

“We did see a few crashes in pursuit of fastest lap as you have to take some more risks and push hard, so in this respect it is a good decision to change it.”

Nicolas Prost set the last ever fastest lap under the former rule but like Engel believes that the change will see a fairer solution.

“You can see it both ways because when you are in the race you can feel hard done by if you set a true lap, but the other side is that like me in Montreal when you have a load of penalties and you have something to aim for,” Prost told e-racing365

“We have seen in the past that it can be important in the championship like when Seb [Buemi] did it in the first season. The change is probably better though and more meaningful so I don’t think there will be that many truly sorry to see it change.”

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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