DS Techeetah explains costly Vergne, Lotterer penalties

DS Techeetah team principal Mark Preston has explained the reason behind the penalties that cost the ABB FIA Formula E team a possible one-two finish in Saturday’s Ad Diriyah E-Prix.

DS Techeetah explains costly Vergne, Lotterer penalties

Jean-Eric Vergne and Andre Lotterer had just moved passed long-time leader and eventual race winner Antonio Felix da Costa when they had to serve drive through penalties for breeching article 27.9 of FE’s sporting rules.

This dropped them to fifth and seventh, and although they showed impressive pace to recover to second and fifth, da Costa held on to record a “historic” win for BMW Andretti.

Motorsport.com understands the offence, a regen software infringement that also caught out Venturi driver Felipe Massa, relates to a software issue resulting in power regeneration exceeding the level defined within the FIA suppliers' software implementation guide.

“It was basically on regen – similar to what other people [including Lucas di Grassi, Sam Bird and Robin Frijns] had in qualifying and shakedown,” Preston told Motorsport.com. 

“We had a similar issue but we thought we fixed it [after practice, where the team was fined €2000 in total for the offence on each car].

“It happened to us – early enough to get the [fine] – but we thought we’d fixed it and in the race it happened again. 

“Now it’s known – and so many people have obviously had the same issue – [fixing it permanently] will be the number one priority. 

“We’ve tried a few things to come up with a quick fix and then there will be a more serious fix back at base. So, that was a software and regen thing.

“When you brake, the system has to keep below a certain kW regen [level] and you’re trying to go down the line and follow the rule.

“If you spike across the line, it’s actually quite hard – the brakes may lock or something – and then your control system has to react because now we’ve got brake by wire. 

“That’s why I think everyone had the problem, as they tried to follow the braking curve.”

Preston reckons the issue is related to the introduction of the active braking systems on the Gen2 FE cars, but was unsure “why it doesn’t come out in testing”.

“[I suppose] it’s just sort of the competition of a real race weekend,” he continued.

“It puts everyone right onto the edge to try and compete. Sometimes more things show up in races more than they do in testing.”

When asked if the team was frustrated not to record a win at the first race of the season, Preston said: “Yeah, of course, but at the same time we were super quick.

“We had all the strategy calls work well – even though we had the drive through. 

“The car was super fast, the drivers were super fast, all the calls from the engineers were great, our operations were very good.

“So we’ll go into the next race very positive, really, and have a good Christmas, I suppose!”

Andre Lotterer, DS TECHEETAH, DS E-Tense FE19

Andre Lotterer, DS TECHEETAH, DS E-Tense FE19

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

shares
comments
Bird tops post-race Formula E test in Saudi Arabia

Previous article

Bird tops post-race Formula E test in Saudi Arabia

Next article

Audi had "absolutely no pace" in Formula E opener

Audi had "absolutely no pace" in Formula E opener
Load comments
Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive Prime

Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive

OPINION: Circuit racing has traditionally favoured front- or rear-wheel-drive setups, eschewing the equal distribution of power. But for Formula E and other electric-powered series, our columnist believes it’s a perfect fit.

Formula E
Oct 13, 2021
How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success Prime

How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success

The Wolffs have carved their own paths in motorsport, leading their respective teams to success in Formula 1 and Formula E. But the two came together last month as their drivers finished first and second in the FE drivers' championship - a feat they are hugely proud of. In a rare joint interview, they reflect on a remarkable season

Formula E
Sep 21, 2021
The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21 Prime

The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was one without a narrative for much of the season, with no single car or driver able to break away from the pack. That makes choosing a top 10 especially difficult, particularly as the qualifying format meant some worthy performers were unable to enjoy their day in the sun.

Formula E
Sep 19, 2021
How Mercedes and de Vries achieved Formula E glory the hard way Prime

How Mercedes and de Vries achieved Formula E glory the hard way

When Nyck de Vries dominated the first race of what would be the most controversial and unpredictable Formula E season to date, it looked as though Mercedes was in for a cakewalk. But as the campaign wore on, the path to a title double became increasingly rocky. Neither driver or team would be assured of the crown until the closing stages of the very final race on a weekend of struggle in Berlin.

Formula E
Sep 17, 2021
The Formula E 'loan' deal that will keep di Grassi winning Prime

The Formula E 'loan' deal that will keep di Grassi winning

OPINION: The departure of Audi from Formula E meant its long-time driver Lucas di Grassi would need to find a new berth to stay on the grid. His deal at Venturi Racing will ensure the championship's first-ever race winner will remain competitive into the final year of the current Gen2 ruleset - although it may not be a long-term fit

Formula E
Sep 15, 2021
The problems laid bare by Mercedes' impending Formula E departure Prime

The problems laid bare by Mercedes' impending Formula E departure

Mercedes' planned withdrawal from Formula E at the end of the 2022 season will contribute to the big hole left by fellow automotive manufacturers Audi and BMW on their departures. Although the team may stick around under a different guise, the exit of the now-reigning teams' champion underlines FE's current issues...

Formula E
Aug 18, 2021
The F1 dilemma facing Mercedes' new world champion Prime

The F1 dilemma facing Mercedes' new world champion

After clinching the Formula E title at the Berlin finale, Nyck de Vries is a driver in demand. Although Mercedes would love to keep a reigning champion at the team, the allure of a Williams F1 drive may be too much for de Vries to ignore should a potential deal come to pass

Formula E
Aug 17, 2021
How de Vries claimed Formula E title glory as Mercedes exit bombshell looms Prime

How de Vries claimed Formula E title glory as Mercedes exit bombshell looms

As Formula E lined up to complete its seventh season at Berlin's Tempelhof Airport, all eyes were on who would be its first official FIA world champion. Despite Nyck de Vries' title lead heading into the weekend looking all but secure, the Dutchman held on - and enjoyed a good dollop of fortune - to secure a championship double for Mercedes

Formula E
Aug 16, 2021