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Wedged Camera Drama for Bird After Vergne Clash

A bizarre outcome to the first corner incident may have affected Sam Bird’s Marrakesh pace…

Photo: Formula E

An onboard camera from Jean-Eric Vergne’s DS Techeetah car got wedged into Sam Bird’s Envision Virgin Audi after the incident at the first corner in last Saturday’s Marrakesh E-Prix.

The small titanium-encased lower sidepod camera became detached in the incident and lodged in the left bodywork aperture of Bird’s car.

Envision Virgin team manager Leon Price confirmed to e-racing365 that the camera was found in what is known colloquially by teams as the ‘boomerang’ section of the car which bolts to the Gen 2 sidepod.

The damage inflicted by the camera may have slightly affected the handling and performance of Bird’s car and the British driver commented at the post-race press conference that he felt there was a performance drop-off after the contact.

“All I know is I got a hit from the rear and I felt like I was nursing a car that might have had a little bit of an issue from thereon in,” said Bird.

The British driver only became aware that he was carrying the camera later on Saturday evening when the team informed him.

The camera was returned to DS Techeetah by an Envision Virgin team member after the post-race technical checks were completed.

Vergne “Angry” with Himself

Reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne says he only blames himself for the incident which saw him spin after his first-corner contact with pole-sitter Bird.

“I’m very angry at myself because made a mistake in Turn 1 and I can only blame myself,” Vergne told e-racing365.

“I let my team down today but at least I was able to come back and work very hard to bring some points.”

Vergne, who produced a stellar recovery to finish fifth, referenced his similar but more successful move on Sebastien Buemi into the first turn at the second race in New York last year.

“It’s not the same car, I wanted to do New York again but it didn’t work out.

“At some point, we’re racing drivers, you go for the gap, you give your everything. Today it was a bit too much but that’s how it goes, it’s part of racing.”

Bird said that he braked at what he believed to be the correct point going into the first corner and did not hold any malice toward his former teammate Vergne.

“I’m not placing any blame on Jean-Eric really,” Bird told e-racing365.

“I braked where I thought I’d still make an apex and get around. These cars are still damned tricky when they are cold.

“Obviously, I got hit, it damaged his race and I think it damaged mine, but it’s racing, these things happen, so no big issues with JEV.”

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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