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FIA Consulted Drivers on Attack Zone Placement

The discussion on the placement of the Attack Zone in Diriyah carried on after Saturday’s race…

Photo: Formula E

The majority of drivers were in favour of the change in Attack Zone placement at last weekend’s Diriyah E-Prix.

ABB Formula E Championship race director Scot Elkins said that the drivers’ track review committee, which e-racing365 revealed had been formed last month, was in favour of the placement.

Elkins had both pre and post-race conversations with Sebastien Buemi regarding the placement of the Attack Zone for the first race of the 2019-20 season in Saudi Arabia.

Buemi, though, is not part of the three driver make-up of the informal drivers’ committee which currently involves Jerome D’Ambrosio, Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Rowland.

After Saturday’s race, the Nissan e.dams driver was critical of the location of the transponder loops to activate the mandatory Attack Mode boost at the Turn 18-19 chicane.

Buemi was spun around by DS Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa as he went to take his first of two four-minute 35kW power boosts.

E-racing365 understands that Elkins took a series of questions from Buemi at last Thursday’s drivers’ briefing at Diriyah regarding the placement.

In addition, Buemi also sought out Elkins after he had fulfilled his media commitments on Saturday afternoon.

“He came to see me, we had a chat but it stays between us only,” Elkins told e-racing365.

“Seb’s got some valid points. Trust me, I hear what he has to say and we’ll take it into account, absolutely, when we’re doing this again.

“He’s got some valid points, but also we moved the Attack Zone from last year to there because everybody said, and we’ve even got drivers on our track review committee, who said: ‘put it on the outside of the corner because it’s better’. So that’s what we did.”

Elkins largely disagreed with Buemi’s comparison of his incident with da Costa to that he was involved in with Robin Frijns during last season’s Paris E-Prix.

On that occasion, Buemi lost the lead of the race when Frijns tagged his right-rear wheel and caused a puncture while the Nissan driver was trying to claim the best line for the Attack Zone.

“I don’t really want to disagree with Seb too much because he’s a great professional driver and I’m not, but it didn’t seem like anybody else had problems with it,” said Elkins.

“I don’t think it’s like Paris at all really. Paris was a different beast. That’s my opinion.

“It [the Diriyah Attack Zone] was for sure better than 2018. Last year was quite dramatic where you had to come right off the corner.

“It’s never easy to place the Attack Zone in the perfect spot because we don’t have room on this track, so we do what we can.”

The positioning of the Attack Zone is given to teams approximately 10-14 days before each Formula E event and is integrated into to the software files which teams use for simulator purposes ahead of races.

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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