Formula E drivers frustrated with officials over Berlin penalties

Formula E drivers Oliver Turvey and Sam Bird admit to being perplexed by the penalties that ruined their chances of a good result in the Berlin ePrix

Formula E drivers frustrated with officials over Berlin penalties

Turvey and Bird, along with their respective NEXTEV and Virgin team-mates Nelson Piquet Jr and Jean-Eric Vergne, and Team Aguri's Rene Rast, were shown mechanical failure flags during Saturday's race.

While Rast's was for significant damage to his rear wing, which was hanging down, the other four incidents were due to minor damage to the front wing.

The FIA technical delegate instructed the race director to flag in all the drivers for safety reasons.

Vergne was fortunate to be shown his flag just as the mid-race car swaps were due to start, but the other three had their races ruined.

"I clipped the chicane at Turn 2 on lap six," explained Turvey, who inherited seventh from NEXTEV TCR team-mate Piquet when the Brazilian served his penalty then had to cede the place himself.

"It damaged the front wing endplate. I saw it was cracked, but then it fell off.

"Once it fell off the car felt the same. I didn't feel a difference, it felt fine and it wasn't dangerous because the part had fallen off.

"I don't know why you get a technical flag for visual damage to the car. It's frustrating.

"Nelson had the same issue. There were a number of cars that got technical flags, which is a shame.

"I don't understand why we got a penalty."

Bird was in fourth place when he was show the black-and-orange flag but tried to contest the issue over the radio with his team.

"I'm a bit upset," he said. "I've never experienced anything like that before.

"We tried to fight it, I said 'guys there's nothing wrong with my front wing, tell them, look it's not going to come off!' but they weren't having it."

Race winner Sebastien Buemi also questioned the decision-making of the officials, though his concern was over the late deployment of the safety car.

A full-course yellow was thrown while debris from the various broken wings was collected.

Buemi later lost a four-second lead and had to contend with a two-lap sprint at the end when the real safety car was deployed to recover Loic Duval's crashed car.

"There were plenty of occasions to put out a safety car when there were parts everywhere," Buemi said, "but they chose to put it out when it was not really dangerous.

"They could have just pulled the car back."

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