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Di Grassi Stands by Red Flag Rant

Lucas di Grassi stands by scathing opinion on race suspension in Swiss E-Prix…

Photo: Formula E

Lucas di Grassi has stood by his animated opinions to the reorganization procedure after the first-lap red flag during Saturday’s Swiss E-Prix.

The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver reacted to the decision of restarting the race with the original grid order after multiple incidents blocked the circuit at the first corner.

The Brazilian was seen confronting deputy race director Niels Wittich in the remote pit lane after the incidents.

Cars were stopped on the track and sorted out back to grid order which, in di Grassi’s opinion, penalized cars that had made up positions through the melee before the red flag was deployed.

Adding to the confusion, a marshal appeared to erroneously deploy a red flag at the scene of the incident before the official communication from race control to do so.

“I still agree with what I said then,” di Grassi told e-racing365 after the race.

“Half of the grid went through the line. So, half of the grid crossed the finish line, and the red flag was deployed in corners 3 and 4.”

The rules on race suspension procedures state that: “in all cases the order will be taken at the last point at which it was possible to determine the position of all cars. All such cars will then be permitted to resume the race.”

Article 40.3 of the 2018-19 Formula E Sporting Regulations also states that: “any cars unable to return to the pit lane as a result of the track being blocked will be brought back when the track is cleared and will be arranged in the order they occupied before the race was suspended.

“Additionally, any cars in the pit lane or pit entry at the time the race was suspended will be arranged in the order they occupied before the race was suspended.”

Di Grassi, who was also joined by Antonio Felix da Costa and Felipe Massa in a heated discussion with FIA officials, railed against the opportunity for those that triggered the accidents to be allowed to re-join where they originally started after repairs.

“I think it is completely unfair,” he said.

“I am not saying the rule doesn’t allow that to happen, I just think that it is completely unfair that people who cause the crash are allowed to have a second chance and go back and repair their cars and start in their original position. I think that is unacceptable.”

Di Grassi argued that several cars triggered the “timing line” before the red flag order was given and unfairly penalized those not involved in the incidents.

“If nobody has crossed the timing line and there was no way of knowing what, if it was not knowing who was where then OK, but 11 cars crossed the line,” he said.

“Half of the grid I think is a reasonable number to consider that grid for a restart behind a safety car.”

E-racing365 understands that the FIA is looking at the conduct of the drivers involved in the confrontation with officials yesterday.

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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