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Bird unhappy with Cape Town FE flag delays, "spooked" by radio

Sam Bird was infuriated by the delay in showing a red flag for Edoardo Mortara's crashed car in Formula E's Cape Town qualifying session. The Jaguar driver says it contributed to his subsequent accident.

Sam Bird, Jaguar Racing

Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

In the group qualifying stage, Mortara carried too much speed through Turn 9 and was spat into the wall, bringing the session to a halt.

Any evidence of a red or yellow flag was not immediately apparent and, for many of the drivers, a radio message from race director Scot Elkins was their earliest piece of information.

Bird, who was approaching the Turn 8-9 section of the Cape Town circuit, hit the brakes in response and ultimately spun backwards into the wall. He followed Mortara's trajectory, coming to rest after making contact with the Swiss driver's Maserati MSG.

"No yellow flags, no red flags, a crash in front - it was a recipe for disaster," Bird told Autosport.

"I got spooked by the radio message from Scot. I braked too hard in an area where you shouldn't brake so hard, and that fired the brake bias to the rear. It's an area where you don't need that, and I spun.

"But why was there no yellow, or why was there no immediate red?

"Apparently there were 21 seconds between Edo hitting the wall and me hitting Edo. 21 seconds is enough time to have a red flag."

Car of Edoardo Mortara, Maserati Racing after the crash

Car of Edoardo Mortara, Maserati Racing after the crash

Photo by: Andreas Beil

Owing to the damage to his car, Bird's Jaguar mechanics did not have enough time to ensure the Briton could make it onto the grid for Cape Town's inaugural race.

Despite factoring in the battle among the front-runners early on, Bird's team-mate Mitch Evans had a similarly miserable time following a drive-through penalty for an overpower spike. This left the Kiwi to finish 11th, with no points on the board for the works Jaguar squad.

Looking for the positives, Bird felt that Jaguar's pace in practice would at least bode well for the next round in Sao Paulo.

"It felt great [around Cape Town]. In FP1, we were very quick. In FP2, we were very quick. We've been one of the benchmarks all season for pace and one-lap pace," said Bird.

"But unfortunately we as a team come away from this with no points. The good news is that we are quick, so that's at least a positive."

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