Bird loses Hong Kong Formula E win to Mortara

Formula E

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Edoardo Mortara has inherited his first ever Formula E race win after Sam Bird was penalised for colliding with Andre Lotterer.

Bird, the winner on the road, was given a five-second time penalty for a collision with Lotterer, who was leading the race at the time. The contact left Lotterer with a right-rear puncture, which caused the DS Techeetah driver to fall to 14th in the final classification.

“The driver of car two had a direct hit with the right-rear tyre of car 36 resulting in an immediate puncture,” the stewards noted.

“It is acknowledged that the track was damp in certain areas, however car 36 left more than a car width to the inside. As a result, we find that the driver of car two was predominantly to blame for the incident.”

Bird’s penalty drops him to sixth place in the final standings. Behind Mortara, Lucas di Grassi was elevated to second place and Robin Frijns gained a place in the top three. Daniel Abt moves up to fourth place ahead of Felipe Massa.

Mitch Evans, Gary Paffett, Oliver Turvey and Antonio Felix da Costa complete the points scorers.

The stewards also handed Jean-Eric Vergne a five-second time penalty for causing a collision with Tom Dillmann. The penalty makes no difference to his finishing position of 13th. Oliver Rowland, who retired from the race, was cleared of causing a collision at turn six.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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11 comments on “Bird loses Hong Kong Formula E win to Mortara”

  1. To be fair, this decision does wonders for the championship… Top 4 separated by 2 points.

  2. the decision is right because bird touched (slightly hit) two more times to lotterer’s cars before the last one which causes a tyre puncture. he was a little aggressive from the start of the race.

  3. There was contact throughout the field all race long and the stewards did nothing. Yet the race leader gets a puncture after contact (and some very hard defending) and a time penalty is awarded.

    Not great for the sport, however we’ve seen such inconsistency in other motor racing, even F1.

    I think the commentary had it right – either lay out the rules of engagement for contact in the sporting regulations, or take the Jason Plato approach of “rubbing’s racing” and let the drivers get on with it.

    These are narrow street circuits – there will be contact because the cars are wide and can run very closely together thanks to the low reliance on aerodynamics for grip. Drivers will go for overtakes and, where defending in the braking zone is permitted, there will be inevitable contact where overtaking gaps disappear.

    Shame for Bird, but great for the championship standings!

    1. The punishments have been inconsistent all season. One driver gets punished for spinning another car in one race and another one does not in the next race.

  4. Gutted for Lotterer. Favourite driver not to have a proper shot at F1 .. though I respect his decision back in 2014

  5. I think the decision was correct, but the way they did it spoilt the show. I disliked the fact that Bird got to celebrate his win and stand on the top step of the but he got it stripped from him, and the victor, Mortara, hardly got to celebrate because he was in second. Also, I feel sorry for the guys who went to see the race, as they left believing Bird won, but then when they got home they found out the result. I think it should be like football, where the team ahead at the end is the winner, and cannot be changed.

  6. I watched the race. My first for quite a while and found the whole broadcast somewhat disappointing.

    That being said, it wasn’t necessarily the fault of the broadcasters. They really had no option but to focus on the front two given how close they were and how far the rest were behind.

    A couple of thoughts about ways they could have improved the whole thing.

    1) the track was ridiculously narrow. Sure it leads to a heap of barging and banging but if F1 involved that amount of contact, there’d be a massive outcry. Tracks should be wide enough to allow “proper” racing and to me it failed at that.
    2) The use of the Activation zone should be restricted to full race conditions and not be permitted when the safety car is out or more particularly, coming in. It just seemed a bit silly that drivers could run over it while going at low speeds and reduced its effectiveness.
    3) it would be nice to see a bit more of the rest of the field – even if it means having to show a replay of the front two battling at corners occasionally instead of just following them lap after lap.

    It all seems just a bit underwhelming, the finish of the race was predictably decided by contact, and even the drivers seemed downbeat about it all. I know it’s early days and the race was definitely a little more interesting without the car change etc but I think they still have a way to go before I’ll get excited enough to add Formula E to my regular motor racing schedule.

    1. 1. You watch more races you’d see there’s a variety of race tracks, even though the series was designed to be a ‘street circuit’ formula.
      2. Again a good variety. Drivers/teams can make different (incorrect) tactical decisions which often mixes it all up a bit.
      3. Broadcasters concentrate on where the actions is. In this case it was at the front. They have access to cameras across the whole field so can accurately decide where to point their cameras.
      Maybe you don’t remember when F1 allowed each country’s broadcaster to film their home race & at Imola & San Marino we were forced to watch the red cars go round & round on their own, even when they were half way down the grid.

      1. Thanks @dave-f great response.

        I’ve probably been unlucky as every race I’ve seen featured really narrow tracks. I’ll watch some more (thanks to you) and hopefully my opinion will stand.

        I still think it would be better to force the activation zone strategies to play out in full race conditions as it I believe it would add something.

        I do remember those races and didn’t like it then. One thing I do like about F1 is they do tend to show a wider spread of the action. I can appreciate why they stayed on the front two (and of course the race is much shorter) but to me thee was an opportunity to show a wider variety and maybe swing back to them every couple of laps until the final few. The danger of course is that Bird May have gotten the pass made so I guess it was reasonable.

        I’ll add it to my schedule for some more races – hopefully my mind may get changed.

        1. Damn “ my opinion will change “ ….. oh for an edit button :(

  7. BlackJackFan
    11th March 2019, 3:10

    So, Vergne was penalised as well… Another stupid 5 secs… that achieved absolutely nothing…!
    Judging by these comments FE seems to mainly appeal to CrashFans…

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