Andre Lotterer says that the incident that saw him lose the lead on the penultimate lap of the Hong Kong E-Prix was part of a bigger problem regarding driving standards in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
The DS Techeetah driver ran fourth in the opening laps but then led for the majority of the race after overtaking Stoffel Vandoorne and then capitalizing on mistakes made by Oliver Rowland and Sam Bird.
Lotterer then engaged in a long battle with Bird and sustained contact from the Envision Virgin Racing driver as he tried get through into the lead.
Speaking before Bird was handed a five-second time penalty and stripped of his win post-race, Lotterer said that the stewards needed to take action on Bird for the incident.
“It was all quite normal with a bit of contact here and there, but then he lunged me and destroyed my suspension and tire,” Lotterer told e-racing365
“It is a big problem we have in the series now because it is too easy to do stuff like that. I feel it is 100 percent unfair.
“Yes, I defended but that is my right. Then my race is ruined but I hope the stewards prove a point for the future.
“I felt what happened pretty hard and I don’t think it was fair.”
Lotterer suggested that, had Bird avoided a penalty for the incident, then it would have set a dangerous precedent.
“If he doesn’t get a penalty it opens up a whole new world of crazy stuff because it is saying we can just run into each other,” he said.
When asked if he had spoken to Bird, immediately after the podium and media pen session, the DS Techeetah driver was dismissive.
“No, I am not interested in that. What would it change?” he remarked.
Also speaking before his penalty, Bird defended his driving standards, but admitted he felt regretful at winning in such a fashion.
“What happened at the end was extremely unfortunate and I wish Andre could have finished the race,” he said.
“It reminded me very much so of Andre and [Jean-Eric Vergne] in Santiago,” he added, referring to the 2018 edition of the race when the Techeetah teammates collided while running 1-2.
“The door was closed, I was going for a gap and when he closed the door I had nowhere to go. I don’t like winning like that, it’s not the name of the game. It was a great race nonetheless.”
Mark Preston, Lotterer’s team principal at DS Techeetah, concurred with his driver on the matter of driving standards this season.
“You could say ‘well, that’s just racing, but not really,” Preston told e-racing365.
“The stewards have to do something because next race it will be carnage because it will send out a message that it is acceptable.”