3 hours after the finish of the second race of the season in Riyadh, four penalties were applied to three different drivers, dramatically altering the final results of the Diriyah E-Prix.
Maximillian Gunther, who had finished second behind his BMWi Andretti teammate Alexander Sims, was penalised 24 seconds for overtaking Lucas Di Grassi and Stoffel Vandoorne after going into attack mode before the end of a safety car period. This dropped him down to 11th, out of the points, and took away what would have been the German driver’s first podium in Formula E.
“Unfortunately, the rule is that you can’t pass until you get to the control line,” race director Scot Elkins explained in an interview with Autosport magazine.
“So some of that happened – the problem we had was that there was so much going on at that point. We had guys going on the attack mode, we had a couple of guys went to the pitlane, we had a lot of things happening, so it took a really long time to suss out what really happened. It’s just the part of this circuit where the attack mode was in relation to the safety car line.”
Mercedes EQ’s Nyck De Vries also was penalised from 7th down to 16th, not only for making the same offence, but being set back an additional five seconds after the Mercedes team were unable to follow instructions set out by the official FIA battery supplier.
Finally, Nio 333’s Oliver Turvey was disqualified from 8th place due to using 0.06KWh of energy more from his battery than the allotted amount in the rules. As a result the Englishman lost what would have been his best result since finishing 8th in Santiago last season.
The net result of this is that Lucas Di Grassi moves up to second place, whilst Stoffel Vandoorne takes a second podium in a row with third. James Calado and Brendon Hartley score their first points in Formula E with 7th and 9th places respectively, whilst Antonio Felix Da Costa score his first points for Techeetah, taking 10th place and the bonus point for fastest lap.