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Formula E Rome ePrix

Dennis blames absence of yellow flags for Rome practice pileup

BMW Andretti driver Jake Dennis has blamed an absence of yellow and red flags for contributing to the three-car Rome Formula E practice pile-up caused by Oliver Turvey.

Mechanics unload the damaged car of Jake Dennis, BMW I Andretti Motorsport, BMW iFE.21

Dennis and DS Techeetah racer Jean-Eric Vergne were sat at the rear of a queue of stationary cars when they were wiped out by Turvey after the session - topped by Audi's Lucas di Grassi - had finished.

NIO 333 driver Turvey rounded the “blind” Turn 6 of the revised Rome track at relatively high speed and glanced off Vergne then Dennis - who were waiting to make a practice start, as is customary following the end of the first 45-minute practice session.

The three were uninjured but all will miss the second 30-minute practice, as a likely powertrain change for Vergne and a new monocoque for Turvey should rule them out of qualifying also.

Dennis told Autosport: "In his defence, there was a poor effort in terms of no red flag, no yellow flag. Nothing.

“Turvey was obviously pushing, which is a bit stupid after a chequered flag.

“The speed he arrived at, he wasn't making the first row [for the practice starts]. He was going to hit someone, it just happened to be me and [Vergne] who were the next ones to lined up.

"It's not an optimum situation for a practice start but we all knew we were doing practice starts. He obviously just forgot; the team didn't tell him.

“It's a completely blind this corner. Even during the session, I was thinking 'if someone crashes here, for sure you hit them'. He couldn't do anything by the time he saw us.”

Jake Dennis, BMW I Andretti Motorsport

Jake Dennis, BMW I Andretti Motorsport

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Dennis estimates that he will be two seconds slower a lap in qualifying as a result of taking four new and unscrubbed tyres into qualifying.

This is the result of three punctures, one of which was caused by a TV camera puncturing a sidewall during the crash.

BMW Andretti team principal Roger Griffiths added that experienced operator Turvey should have slowed.

He said: “It was more shock than anything, being sat there stationary and next thing you know you’re hit from behind.

“I know it’s a little confusing here with the offset dummy grid. But it’s not the first time we’ve done it, let’s just say.

“We were completely innocent to it. I’m somewhat surprised there isn’t more damage.”

DS Techeetah boss Mark Preston told Autosport that Vergne was OK after appearing to double over with some soreness on the TV feed.

Preston continued: “The drivers has crossed the chequered flag, so they knew it was the end of the session.

“The crash plucked the rear right off [the car]. It pulled the rear suspension and everything with it”.

Vergne added: “It was the first time in my life I have a crash without seeing it coming. The good thing from my side is that I didn't have time to get scared.”

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