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Formula E London 2021: dispute after Audi pit trick

When Formula E returned to London, Audi sparked discussions with a creative interpretation of the rules. However, a small mistake caused the Ingolstadt team's clever trick to fail with a bang. The two wins went to Brits Jake Dennis (BMW) and Alex Lynn (Mahindra).

After a five-year break, Formula E was back in London. The local organizers had created a completely new course for the electro spectacle, half of which was outdoors and the other half under the roofs of the Excel event hall. This gave the ePrix the flair of an indoor karting event.

For the first part of the double header, Alex Lynn started from pole position. In the course of the race, the Brit fought an exciting duel with compatriot Jake Dennis. When the Mahindra pilot turned into the attack mode zone for the second time, Dennis took the lead and held on to the finish line.

In the last laps, Nyck de Vries put in a strong final sprint. First, the Mercedes youngster passed Sebastien Buemi in third place. Thanks to Fanboost, the Dutchman was able to snatch second place from Lynn. Because Buemi was subsequently disqualified, André Lotterer came fourth in the classification as the best German driver in his Porsche.

Di Grassi causes discussions

The second run on Sunday saw much more action. Right from the start things got wild on the piste. Because overtaking on the tight track in London was much more difficult than on other circuits, the drivers in the back field in particular took a lot of risks with their attacks. This inevitably led to some collisions.

The safety car had to be sent onto the track for the first time when Sebastien Buemi and Rene Rast disagreed on the right-of-way rules in turn 11. A second safety car phase became necessary after the two former team-mates Antonio Felix da Costa and Andre Lotterer collided in Turn 1.

In this second safety car phase, Lucas di Grassi, who had started tenth, unexpectedly turned into the pit lane. Because the way past the garages was faster than lurching behind the safety car on the track, the Brazilian suddenly pushed himself into the lead with this creative trick.

Fine for Audi

However, Audi had overlooked the passage in the regulations that a driver driving through the pit lane had to stop just in front of the garage, which Di Grassi had neglected to do. So the referees imposed a drive-through penalty on the Audi driver.

Because those responsible at the command post didn't want to see the violation of the rules and let Di Grassi continue to do laps in the lead, the race organizers had no choice but to finally wave the black flag and disqualify the 2017 champion.

Di Grassi didn't let that move him to give up either. And so, in the end, the Audi rolled across the finish line in the lead. As it turned out later, Audi had not even informed its driver about the sanctions. Therefore, it subsequently imposed a fine of 50,000 euros for the factory racing team.

De Vries takes the lead in the World Championship

In the end, Alex Lynn inherited the win. The local hero also benefited from the tough duel between pole setter Stoffel Vandoorne and pursuer Oliver Rowland, who fought so hard in their interim duel for the lead that both fell far behind. The other places on the podium behind Lynn went to Nyck de Vries and Mitch Evans.

De Vries was also able to take the top spot in the drivers' standings with his two podium places in London. Before the final double strike in Berlin in mid-August, the Mercedes driver leads the table six points ahead of Virgin spearhead Robin Frijns. Jaguar driver Sam Bird, who traveled to London as the overall leader, failed to score points in either race, dropping to third place as a result.


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