De Vries criticises Formula E rivals’ driving standards after title win

Formula E

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Nyck de Vries criticised the “aggressive” driving of his Formula E rivals after becoming the series’ first world champion yesterday.

The Mercedes driver took the title in a dramatic race which saw several of his better-placed title contenders crash out.

“I know I was very fortunate today with everything that happened,” de Vries admitted after Mitch Evans and Edoardo Mortara were eliminated in a crash at the start. “Of course, I feel sorry for what happened with Mitch and Edo, they deserved to fight to the end.

“It was a very tight championship all the way through, a lot of ups and downs and everyone was really in the same boat. That’s why we went to today with everyone basically being in contention for the championship and I just feel very, very grateful that fortune has chosen us.”

However De Vries was unhappy with the conduct of certain rivals on-track. “We drove an incredibly strong race, I’m proud of that,” he said. “[But] I feel very disappointed with the driving standards out there. They were just not aware of the championship situation and that’s not how you drive, with world championship contenders.

“[On Saturday] it was the same and it repeated itself so I was a little disappointed with that and that was my first reaction after the race because I felt like we could’ve finished higher and I’m a racer, I want to race and as you’ve seen, I was not playing conservative, I wanted to fight.

“In the end it all worked out well, I’m glad we also managed to clinch the teams’ championship and also to give everyone the reward they deserve.”

Mahindra driver Alexander Sims was among those to draw the ire of the new champion. “I’ll no longer hide his name – Sims really needs to back off,” said De Vries. “Yesterday he gave us a puncture and today his style was, again, too aggressive for me, considering we were in the fight for the championship.

“So I put it in fourth and then [Jean-Eric Vergne] got involved at the end, he put his nose in my back end so I was basically spinning the wheels in the air, not being able to come out of the corner and Bird got me and I thought we’d lost the teams championship.

“I was still eager to fight back in the rest of the lap but I was told it was fine and to hold position. So I’m a little bit disappointed with that and that’s why my first reaction was to ask about the teams [championship].”

Sims rejected his rival’s complaints about his driving. “I thought that I drove my race and I defended hard but I don’t think I did anything that was out of the ordinary,” he said.

“I appreciate he’s got his championship to think about and he probably would love for me let him past and he can get on with his race but that’s not going to happen.

“The very light contact that I had with him [on Saturday] was the cause of his puncture and I apologised for that. I think it was a racing incident – I’ve had that happen to me plenty of times and that’s the way it goes. So for that, I apologised but today I thought I did everything quite well. I was robust in my defence.”

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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  • 22 comments on “De Vries criticises Formula E rivals’ driving standards after title win”

    1. It makes sense in a way. Other drivers know that the championship contender will not be able to take any risks.

      Some take it too far though. In F1 we’ve seen Sato dive bomb Button and Kubica unlap himself aggressively and for no reason whatsoever, almost costing Hamilton a WDC. It’s just sad.

      I’ve only seen the highlights, but in this case I would say De Vries also was a tad too aggressive himself. Sure that block in the braking zone from Sims was ridiculous, but in the aftermath of that De Vries also messed up twice himself.

      1. @f1osaurus,

        Doesn’t really matter, a lot of the top manufacturers are bailing out of FE racing because of its format. Mercedes just announced they’re pulling out of Formula E for good (via Toto Wolff) along with Audi and BMW.

        Thats six big money mainstay cars & teams no longer on the FE track, I wouldn’t bet too surprised if others (like Venuri?) will be doing the same if sponsors will be leaving or teams receiving less money from sponsors.

        Talk about a downfall and vote of no confidence in FE. I can hardly disagree with this decision. Are we going to see a snowball effect? What happens when the ship starts sinking?
        It’s a shame FE went the direction they did, it could have been an awesome opportunity to showcase electric car racing, the timing was right but they screwed the pooch with their approach. It’s become a missed opportunity and time to move on.

        1. FE had 7 seasons to make changes and it didnt so its their own ignorance or arrogance that has lead to this moment.

        2. @redpill Not sure how that is related to the dirty driving remark from De Vries remark that I replied to.

          Formula E never did it for me though. Too slow, too messy, too gimmicky. In a way De Vries’ remark also hits home though. The cars constantly seem to be touching. I really don’t like that, but I guess it’s devolved into some sort of touring car racing where this is accepted somehow.

      2. In F1 we’ve seen Sato dive bomb Button and Kubica unlap himself aggressively and for no reason whatsoever, almost costing Hamilton a WDC. It’s just sad.

        What’s sad about that? Should drivers not attack those who are in contention for the title?

        1. No, I’m saying to not ram into them just because you think they will jump out of the way.

          1. @f1osaurus Firstly, Kubica did nothing wrong with Hamilton, if you’re referring to Brazil 2008. When the hell did he even attempt to “ram” into him. He passed him cautiously and legitimately. Hamilton cost himself that position to Vettel by running wide, not Kubica. Secondly, what does Sato have to do with divebombing Button? The last time I checked, Sato wasn’t even on the 2009 grid.

            1. @mashiat Kubica was rtidiculous. He unlapped himself for no reason pushing Hamilton wide. Just stop it with the apologetic nonsense.

            2. @f1osaurus Did you have an issue when he unlapped himself from Vettel? I don’t think so. He did nothing. His overtake was clean. Hamilton went wide himself by trying to stick it around the outside.

            3. Kubica did nothing wrong. He was ahead of Hamilton even before corner entry, so how he pushed Hamilton wide in your view?

            4. @mashiat Did you read the article? That’s what it is about. People who are lapped should stay still and not cost people championships. Jeez.

    2. “They were just not aware of the championship situation and that’s not how you drive, with world championship contenders”

      What’s he on about? You don’t drive any differently – if anything, you can be more aggressive as they have more to lose and you’d expect them to back out earlier.

      I wasn’t sure De Vries was aware of the Championship situation! They were in position to win both championships and he was doing late divebombs on people… Was strange to watch.

      1. Yes, and overshooting the Apex and other crazy things. In fact, he would have DNFd had the driving standard been poorer as the other drivers did a great job avoiding him.

        Reply moderated
      2. Indeed, De Vires was the one not really driving with one eye on the championship. He didn’t even need to finish for the drivers championship, so he’s getting a bit dramatic and not really endearing himself to fans if the 1st thing he does after winning is to complain. No one likes a sore loser, but heck, no one likes a sore winner!
        Also, given FE kept on reminding us “mathematically 14 drivers still had a chance of winning”, he can’t really expect the whole grid to jump out of his way (although those with a realistic chance did!).

    3. “becoming the series’ first world champion yesterday”

      Wait, what?

      1. Formula E wasn’t an FIA World Championship until this season, the previous winners were “just” Formula E champions, not world champions.

        1. Ahh right makes sense. Didn’t realise, thanks.

    4. Thought the electric bumper cars show was the big spectacle of the series. Is there another purpose for slow spec cars racing on horrible street circuits?

    5. It’s apparently a bit of a corporate trait to complain about other drivers being aggressive.

      1. Does Red Bull participate in Formula E? They seem to be the ones constantly complaining about what other drivers do to them.

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