An untimely race is being investigated following an incident on the inaugural Formula E race at Portland on Sunday. The JMW Honda team’s Markus Wolff and Ferrari’s Sebastian Loeb competed in the new electric series but were disqualified from their final race when Wolff hit the wall and forced into a lap delay. The stewards accepted the race could have been stopped as a result.
The incident happened on the 11th lap when Wolff, making his first Formula E start, stopped at turn one. He mounted the back of a gravel tow vehicle and drove towards the inside of the first corner. Wolff’s car lunged into the gravel trap and ended up in an off-side kerb.
Following the race and at the time of the collision, Wolff was told on the radio “do not touch anything!” He led at the time of the crash and would have finished on Sunday, if the team was told to hold back. However, the race was red-flagged and the crash transpired. Wolff was not disqualified for the crash, despite him being responsible for the impact.
The 24-year-old had been driving for JMW Honda Motorsport, while Loeb was racing in a F1 car with Ferrari. After the incident, Wolff said in a post on Twitter: “We both made a mistake today but some deserve to be punished more than others. They should not have the right to suspend me and I’m grateful to the organisers for their empathy to understand that this was indeed our fault but they also need to be aware of the dangers. I felt I failed the team by not doing enough to stop it happening and it cost me a chance to finish on the podium. I gave the team my all but in the end it didn’t pay off.”
New Manor team coach meets to go over rules and security with ex-F1 man by his side Read more
The stewards said in a statement: “On this occasion and at no time on this circuit should drivers have attempted to overtake each other despite the potential danger of such an action.”
They added: “The results of the race would have been the same but for Wolff’s collision with Pedro De la Rosa at 16.4(h)… Formula E argues that Wolff’s accident on the fifth lap and impact with Pedro De la Rosa on the sixth lap was the consequence of errors.”
Wolff said the incident, which ended in him having to withdraw from the race, would not affect his future involvement with Formula E. In a further tweet, he said: “For me this situation will never put a change in my plans with F2 or my future with F1 to reduce or do less racing.”