The serious issues regarding the surface of the Diriyah track and subsequent incidents during last Friday’s sessions were rectified immediately thanks to new procedures set in place by Formula E Operations and the FIA.
Drivers were highly critical of the surface after the shakedown session and throughout the initial running.
The most serious issues concerned the pre-event resurfacing in parts of the 1.5-mile circuit which was a result of the implementation of a rain management system.
The first round of drainage outlets was added before the race after initial artificial tests were carried out using 100,000 liters of water pumped on to the circuit.
Subsequently some new drainage holes were drilled into the surface when a weather front gave a natural test of the system a week before the race.
This was when organizers decided to make some more modifications but the curing of the tarmac around the drainage holes was not adequate.
“These adjustments, they didn’t settle in properly and the asphalt was coming up, the tarmac needs more time. I’m not an engineer, but it needs at least 24 hours to settle down,” Diriyah E-Prix promoter and organizer Carlo Boutagy told e-racing365.
After Brendon Hartley crashed his GEOX Dragon Penske as a result of running over deposited grained asphalt at the approach to Turn 4 during the opening practice session on Friday morning, the FIA and Formula E Operations decided to act immediately.
The wall was moved further inside at this area of the track by 1.5 meters changing the trajectory of the corner and largely bypassing the area of track damage.
The work was completed in 20 minutes with seven of the concrete blocks that act as the track border moved.
“I don’t think you see that somewhere else in motorsport,” Formula E sporting director Frederic Espinos told e-racing365.
This is all the results of our change done after the Rome red flag last season. We have now a really fast repair team at standby on track, with material and Tecpro teams also there.”
Additionally, organizers had to work fast to repair curbs and walls that were damaged after racing in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY on Saturday.
“We did this in 14 minutes between the call and repair team getting back in position,” confirmed Espinos.