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Sanya Post-Race Notebook

Sam Smith’s post-race notebook from the inaugural Sanya E-Prix on Hainan Island…

Photo: Formula E

***Antonio Felix da Costa’s third position in Sanya ensured that he took the lead in the drivers’ championship. The BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver now heads Jerome d’Ambrosio by one point while former leader Sam Bird drops to equal third place which he shares with Sanya winner Jean-Eric Vergne.

***A post-race ten-second penalty for Sebastien Buemi’s involvement in the three car accident with Robin Frijns and Lucas di Grassi in the final stages of the race means that just three points now covers four teams in the teams’ standings.

***Buemi dropped two positions in the final classification to eighth place meaning that both Mahindra Racing drivers moved up a position with d’Ambrosio inheriting sixth and Pascal Wehrlein placing seventh.

***Those extra points mean that Envision Virgin Racing and Mahindra share the lead on 97 points. Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler sits third on 96 and DS Techeetah places fourth on 95.

***Lucas di Grassi says that he vacated his Audi e-tron FE05 for safety reasons due to his car coming to rest facing the racing line on the outside of the circuit. “I was so afraid, I was exactly on the line I knew the guys were completely nuts on the last lap, coming on that long straight, so that was just instinct.”

***The 2016-17 champion was later fined €5000 ($5660) for vacating his cockpit, an action which led to the race finishing under Full Course Yellow. Drivers are explicitly told to stay in their cars and await further instruction from race director Scot Elkins.

***Vergne received his second reprimand of the season when he was judged to have not observed the ten car lengths rule behind the safety car.

***Edoardo Mortara took a post-race penalty for failing to trigger his second Attack Mode boost during the race. The Venturi driver was given a drive-through penalty converted into a time penalty of 16 seconds which dropped him to 11th position. This meant that his teammate Felipe Massa was elevated into the final points-scoring position.

***Alexander Sims suffered a gear selection issue in the Super Pole session which consigned him to fifth on the starting grid. The BMW i Andretti driver was then taken out of the race after being muscled into the wall while battling with Andre Lotterer over fifth position.

***Sims described the incident to e-racing365 as “unfortunate”. “I would assume [Lotterer] just misjudged how much room to leave for me to continue driving. I can’t stand here and tell you what his feelings were, I don’t know.”

***Sebastien Buemi rued starting from the pit lane after his Super Pole disqualification. The Nissan e.dams driver said: “I did not start at the back. I started at the very, very back, because by the time they released me, the last car was I don’t know how many corners ahead.”

***HWA Racelab came away from Sanya with another double retirement after Gary Paffett suffered a driveshaft problem and Stoffel Vandoorne stopped with damage after his opening lap collision with Bird.

***GEOX Dragon also suffered a double non-finish after Felipe Nasr and Jose Maria Lopez both hit terminal issues. Nasr’s problems started on the start line when he failed to get away before an as yet unspecified issue stopped him shortly after.

***Daniel Abt’s fifth place benefitted from him “staying out of trouble because there’s a lot of people doing crazy stuff out there sometimes,” the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver told e-racing365.

***Veteran engineer Jacky Eeckelaert has left Venturi to take up a new role outside of Formula E. The Belgian worked for the Monaco-based team since the summer of 2017 when he joined it following a brief stint with Dragon.

***Dragon is expected to name its replacement for Nasr at next month’s Rome E-Prix in the coming days. Nasr will miss the event due to his commitment in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Long Beach. He’s currently tied for the lead in the standings after winning last weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

***Bryan Sellers was disqualified from the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY race after initially finishing in third. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan-entered car was found in post-race technical checks to be in breach of Article 5.19.1 of the technical regulations.

***This article of the regulations dictates specific springs and dampers to be used in the spec electric SUV series. In addition the stewards noted “a cable tie strapped to both rear shock absorbers axle which interferes with the bump packer, acting as an additional spacer which increases the bump stop packer thickness.”

***David Cheng made his first cockpit appearance since last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans as he took the Jaguar VIP I-PACE eTROPHY car to ninth position. The co-owner of Jackie Chan DC Racing was forced to take a drive-through penalty after an incident in qualifying with Ahmed Bin Khanen.

***The potential for the ABB FIA Formula E Championship to become an officially recognized World Championship is believed to have got a step closer recently, according to e-racing365 sources.

***A possible formal application to become a World Championship could be submitted in early 2020 with the all-electric series potentially changing its moniker to a World Championship in time for Season Seven in 2021-22.

***Formula E is investigating issues in recent races that has seen trackside branding peel off retaining walls. The problems in Hong Kong were caused by heavy rainfall, while in Sanya the problem was a mix of humidity and, in some cases, cars glancing the decal and pulling it off the wall.

*** The Changan, Dongfeng and FAW automotive companies have joined other Chinese consumer giants Alibaba and Tencent in forming a $1.46 billion EV ride sharing company operated under Nanjing Linqxing Equity Investment Partnership (NLEIP).

***The breakdown of shareholders of the mega-consortium is formed by some of China’s most significant companies: Nanjing Suning (17.4 percent); Changan (16.4 percent); FAW (16.4 percent); Dongfeng (16.4 percent).

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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