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Bern Start Location Questioned

Sam Bird, Lucas di Grassi had questioned the location of the start line in Bern…

Photo: Formula E

Some Formula E drivers questioned the location for the start of Saturday’s Swiss E-Prix on the new Bern street circuit believing it would contribute towards an accident.

Multiple contacts at the first turn triggered a red flag as cars became stranded at the corner.

E-racing365 can reveal that damaged techpro barrier and the slight movement of a retaining wall contributed to the extended stoppage.

Formula E officials deployed a new procedure in Bern which saw teams of barrier repair operators at certain points around the track to react quickly to any damage.

The solution was a reaction to the extended stoppage in Rome which saw a delay of over an hour from the original start.

Formula E and Swiss E-Prix organizers had already worked around the clock on Friday and Saturday to ready the circuit for action.

However both Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi raised concerns about the location of the start earlier in the week.

“I think it is an amazing track, really cool and I enjoyed it,” Bird told e-racing365. “But we need to find a better place for a race start if we ever go back and actually if another track is even similar to this configuration.

“You can’t expect cars with cold tires, cold brakes to get through that tiny little chicane. It is just not going to happen. It is like if F1 started at the Casino section at Monaco.

“The start is there and where else would you choose? I mean, really where else do you choose? You could say up the hill, towards Turn 6, I mean that would be a better place.

“So at least you have got a faster corner to filter everyone in to, than a slow speed one. But I know it is tough for the organizers in these cities.”

Di Grassi also confirmed he had spoken to officials, articulating similar sentiments to Bird.

“I raised my hand, and I asked, ‘Was this the only solution available?’. I think the answer was yes,” he said.

“After everything is set it is very difficult to change it, of course. But here is very difficult to choose an optimal place.

“I would have done it in the uphill before [Turn] 6 before the first left. The cars would have time to go behind each other and it would have been a little bit more of an easy start without stimulating any crash.”

The future of the Swiss E-Prix hangs in the balance with no confirmed date for 2020.

A senior Formula E official told e-racing365 that “a race in the summer of 2021, either Zurich or Geneva, might happen but Bern will very much be a one-off event.”

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 from 2014-17. Contact Sam

1 Comment

1 Comment

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    June 25, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    It was an accident waiting to happen, and it happened. Anyone could see that.

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