Frijns, Muller lament FE rules that resulted in back-of-grid Diriyah starts

Formula E drivers Nico Muller and Robin Frijns have called out two rules that messed up their Diriyah E-Prix qualifying and sent them to the back of the grid

Frijns, Muller lament FE rules that resulted in back-of-grid Diriyah starts

Dragon Penske Autosport racer Muller posted a group qualifying time around the Riyadh Street Circuit that initially promoted him into the superpole shootout.

But he and fellow group four progressor Nick Cassidy were then ejected from the superpole battle, while Tom Blomqvist lost seventh, for "failing to reduce speed under double yellow flag following an incident at Turn 21" on their one flying lap.

This was caused by Dragon team-mate Sergio Sette Camara, who tapped the wall and bent a sensor which then caused a terminal rear braking system failure.

On the amended starting grid, Cassidy, Blomqvist and Muller were all placed behind Sette Camara.

Muller, recovering from a shunt in second practice, told Autosport the episode was a "big fuck up".

He said: "We recovered from the [crash] very well [in group qualifying] without having any full power laps [in free practice one on Thursday] either. It was aborted, let's say.

"Today I didn't even do a 235kW nor 250kW [higher power run] and then to normally make it into superpole was great, but as everybody knows we got that lap time taken away.

"In nice English [that rule] is a big fuck up. You [either] put the red flag or you don't do anything. There's nothing in between in a single-lap qualifying.

"What do you expect? You have that single lap or you give the people a chance to go for another one.

"It's already compromised anyway because you have hot tyres.

"[But] a yellow flag? I wish it would have been a red one."

Envision Virgin Racing driver Robin Frijns missed qualifying altogether after also bringing out a red flag in second practice, when he crashed with 90 seconds of the session to go.

He lost the rear end of the Audi powertrain customer machine, taggint the outside barrier which then dragged the front-right corner into the wall.

The impact tripped a G-force sensor that meant McLaren Applied had to change the battery of the car, despite the team's protests that it was otherwise fully repaired for qualifying.

Frijns took aim, telling Autosport: "I completely disagree with that because I've had some big crashes, not that much, in my career and this definitely was not a big one.

"I completely don't understand. I went first rear end and then front.

"It was not a frontal one where you stand still within a metre.

"I disagree with the fact it was so big and they needed to change the battery.

"The sensor said so. It was definitely not major."

Muller elected to start the race - won by Mercedes driver Nyck de Vries - from the pitlane but the Dragon showed underwhelming race pace and he finished 21st.

Frijns, however, progressed from 24th and last on the grid to 17th.

shares
comments
De Vries was "on fire", but Mercedes says it was "lucky" to win FE opener

Previous article

De Vries was "on fire", but Mercedes says it was "lucky" to win FE opener

Next article

Rowland hopes Mercedes doesn't repeat its F1 dominance in FE

Rowland hopes Mercedes doesn't repeat its F1 dominance in FE
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula E
Drivers Robin Frijns
Author Matt Kew
How Monaco dealt Formula E a winning hand to cure its hangover Plus

How Monaco dealt Formula E a winning hand to cure its hangover

Formula E faced much criticism in the wake of its maligned Valencia event. In need of a turnaround, the series' first use of Monaco's iconic Formula 1 layout provided it with the injection of thrills required to clear the fog that had enveloped the paddock

Formula E
May 10, 2021
How Valencia E-Prix farce left Formula E with an image problem Plus

How Valencia E-Prix farce left Formula E with an image problem

Formula E was under the microscope at Valencia, on its first visit to a permanent circuit. But after a mere nine drivers were left classified following Saturday's Valencia E-Prix, the electric championship once more faced criticism after rising energy deductions and miscalculations produced a farcical affair

Formula E
Apr 25, 2021
The silver bullet signing that has launched Jaguar into title contention Plus

The silver bullet signing that has launched Jaguar into title contention

It's taken a long time for Jaguar to reach the cusp of contending for championships in Formula E. But, after last season's challenge crumbled in Berlin, the team has been bolstered by a top-line arrival who has helped to end an unwanted 30-year wait

Formula E
Apr 22, 2021
How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome Plus

How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome

Another Formula E double-header, another double dose of frantic action. While the form guide remains unpredictable following fightback wins for Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne in Rome, the speed and consistency of Mercedes – both on and off the track – could have its rivals worried for what is to follow

Formula E
Apr 12, 2021
What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future Plus

What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future

Formula E's Gen3 era grid continues to take shape, after Nissan opted to commit to the series for another four years. Nissan's global chief operating officer explains why it has thrown its lot in with FE while other high-profile marques have decided to call it quits

Formula E
Mar 24, 2021
Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start Plus

Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start

With the new Formula E season belatedly getting underway in Saudi Arabia, the championship appeared to try to make up for lost time with an overspill of action and controversy on and off the track. While some talking points could have serious repercussions, it was an explosive opener for many reasons

Formula E
Mar 1, 2021
How Andretti is planning for life after BMW Plus

How Andretti is planning for life after BMW

Michael Andretti's team is a Formula E ever-present and that's not about to change despite BMW's forthcoming exit. But, with both its drivers contracted to the German giant and McLaren weighing up a possible entry, some key decisions lie ahead

Formula E
Feb 26, 2021
The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021 Plus

The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021

The delayed 2020-21 Formula E season gets underway this week with a double-header in Saudi Arabia. The testing times were too close to call a favourite, but that's not the only area of interest to follow as the championship enters a crucial year

Formula E
Feb 25, 2021