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Braking Controversy Halts Buemi’s Progress

Sebastien Buemi’s Sanya E-Prix was affected by complex brake issues in qualifying…

Photo: Nissan NISMO

Sebastien Buemi says that his Sanya E-Prix was significantly compromized after he was obliged to conduct a specific braking test by the FIA during the qualifying session.

E-racing365 can reveal that the drama arose after Buemi was ordered to apply a certain brake pressure during his qualifying lap, which is understood to have been 100 bar.

After complying with this and getting into the Super Pole session, Buemi then suffered a similar accident to one he suffered during Free Practice earlier in the day, hitting the wall at Turn 3 on both occasions.

It is believed that the FIA dictated that Buemi use the precise brake pressure to ensure Nissan e.dams was abiding by Article 21.1 of the technical regulations which dictates that “at least two separate hydraulic circuits [are] operated by the same pedal.”

It remains unclear on whether the instruction is further related to ongoing investigations as to how the team is utilizing its unique dual-motor configuration which e-racing365 revealed in September.

Nissan Had to Prove Braking System Was Safe

Buemi had a similar incident to his Sanya excursion at Santiago in January when it appeared the rear wheels on his car were still driving as he applied the brakes going into a chicane.

“I had to do something related to safety for the FIA [in qualifying],” Buemi told e-racing365.

“Basically I was told I needed to apply a certain pressure on the brake and to demonstrate some things and it completely flat-spotted my tires to achieve what I was asked to achieve.”

The 2015-16 champion confirmed that the order from the FIA was made after his incident during Free Practice 2.

“It is related to the morning accident,” he confirmed. “I was asked to show ‘X’ amount of pressure on the brakes but, unfortunately, I completely locked my tyres.

“I knew I was going to lock them. It was the pressure I was asked to do was so high that there was no way I couldn’t lock.”

Buemi, who was captured angrily gesticulating on TV after his Super Pole incident, went on to state that the original instruction was given largely on safety grounds.

“We’re working on it to make sure we’re all OK with the regulations and with the safety,” he explained.

“The team has done the best they’ve could just to make sure we’re OK all the time.”

According to the official FIA stewards’ decision, his post-qualifying penalty was given because “the car was not in conformity with the requirements of Article 12.1 during the Super Pole”.

E-racing365 understands that Buemi’s car was checked for the specified brake pressure after his group qualifying run to the satisfaction of the FIA technical team.

However, checks made after qualifying found that Buemi’s car was in breach of Article 12.1, which centers around brake circuits and pressure distribution.

That sanction ensured that Buemi slipped from fifth to sixth on the final starting grid, but then had to start from the pit lane.

This was because his car remained in Parc Ferme conditions for a lengthy period of time after Super Pole, and so there was not adequate time to recharge and leave its pit before the starting procedures got underway.

Nissan Technical Director Vincent Gaillardot and the FIA Technical Delegate both declined to comment on the matter to e-racing365 after the race.

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

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