Sebastien Buemi believes the location of the Diriyah E-Prix Attack Zone significantly contributed towards the incident which saw him spun around by Antonio Felix da Costa in Saturday’s race.
Buemi was in second place with da Costa approximately 1.5 seconds behind in third when he took the tight line into the Turn 18 right-hander to trigger one of his two allocated Attack Mode boosts through Turn 19.
But da Costa lightly tagged the back of the Nissan IM02 and spun Buemi out of contention.
Buemi, who voiced his concern over the positioning of the Attack Zone at the drivers briefing on Thursday, angrily expressed his frustration on the topic after the race.
“The problem is the Attack Mode is in the worst place possible, and I kept saying it,” he told e-racing365.
“You cannot put it on the inside on the exit of a corner. You’re making the speed in that corner much slower.
“You don’t need to be a genius to understand you cannot carry the same speed than if you stay on the racing line.”
Buemi explained the difficulty in following cars on-track without the knowledge of when the drivers ahead are about to take the Attack Zone deviation.
“The guy behind does not know that you’re going to go for Attack Mode, so me, if I want to make sure I’m getting to the Attack Mode, I have to slow down more,” he said.
“But because the guy behind doesn’t know, and he [da Costa] hit me from the back.
“So if you start to have to make sure that you have a two-second lead in order to make sure the guy behind is not going to hit you, if you want to get to Attack Mode, it’s nonsense. Where do we stop?”
Spectre of Paris Haunts Buemi
Buemi referenced a similar situation that occurred at last season’s Paris E-Prix when Robin Frijns caused Buemi to suffer a puncture when the two clashed in similar circumstances. On that occasion, Frijns was not penalized.
Buemi felt that the loss of a potential top finish in Paris cost him a likely second Formula E title in 2018-19.
“I said it’s not the right place because I lost the championship in Paris when Robin [Frijns] clipped my back and gave me a puncture,” he suggested.
“So next time I need to make sure I have a second and a half lead to make sure if the guy is braking too late, and I’m going to the Attack Mode that is completely in the wrong place that I’m not going to get hit from behind.”
Da Costa, who took a drive-through penalty for causing the Diriyah incident, was apologetic for the slight contact but also felt that Buemi could have taken more care in changing his line to get to the Attack Zone.
“The previous five laps, I was closing my gap slowly on him, and he decides to go the lap that I’m closer than ever,” Da Costa told e-racing365.
“In my eyes, of course, I turned him around, and I’m very sorry to ruin his race, but I could not control it.
“He has more ability to control that outcome than I have. In my eyes, especially him, having raised that at the drivers’ briefing, he needs to be more aware of what could have happened.”