De Vries concerned Formula E’s new Safety Car rules may create processional races

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Formula E world champion Nyck De Vries is concerned the series’ new time extension rules for Safety Car periods will lead to more races finishing with “no overtaking” and “no racing”

Following the farcical end of the first Valencia E-Prix last season, where multiple drivers ran out of usable energy after heavy energy limit reductions caused by a series of safety cars, the championship has introduced new rules to extend the 45-minute time limit on races instead of reducing energy restrictions.

Asked by RaceFans how he felt about the new Safety Car rules, De Vries said he fears the time extension element could be conducive to less eventful racing.

“I think it will generally reduce the risk of having extremely low energy targets when we have Full Course Yellow or Safety Car towards the end of the race,” he explained.

“I actually think it’s a little bit of a shame, because I think that as soon as we run into late Full Course Yellows or Safety Cars, we will run into an almost full-push scenario, which was the case in season five when I wasn’t there.

“As soon as you go into a scenario when the targets are too high – for instance, London – and there’s very little energy management, there is just no overtaking and there’s no racing. Plus, people that have a strategic race… their advantage from the job they’ve done throughout the race might be taken away for them.

“So I think it will be easier for everyone. For sure they’ve covered themselves from running into a scenario like Valencia. But personally, I don’t think it will improve the race.”

Further rule changes for the 2022 Formula E season have been introduced to address complaints from teams and drivers who have long believed unfairly disadvantage the most successful drivers. Most notably, the much maligned group qualifying system has been replaced by a new ‘duels’ format, intended to create a more even playing field for drivers.

De Vries believes the new changes designed to make the racing more meritorious are what the series “needed”.

“Generally, I’m very positive about the changes,” said De Vries. “I think it’s just going to create more consistency and stability, which I think the championship really needed.

“But, at the same time, it will be new for everyone and we still need to discover how that’s going to be practically. So I’m generally very much in favour of it and I think it’s going to bring what we needed, but let’s see how we all cope with it when it gets dark.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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6 comments on “De Vries concerned Formula E’s new Safety Car rules may create processional races”

  1. As Bernie once said, if you don’t want a processional race, just add water sprinklers.

    1. I do wonder, if you could sit down with Bernie and asked what stuff did he mean, and what stuff did he actually mean? Of course you would never be able to trust his answer, thus rendering it pointless.

      Regardless, I’d rather not sit on top of 250kg battery whilst Bernie sprayed water on me for the sake of ‘unpredictability’.

      1. Formula E races in wet conditions. Also, electric road cars are functional in rain.

        1. @f1mre I know, I know. They’re exceptional pieces of technology, and of course perfectly safe. It was more just a dig at Bernie and his ideas.

    2. As I’ve often said, if you don’t want processional races, stop lining them up on the grid from fastest to slowest.

  2. I think management has a place & I agree that it can add to the racing but I don’t think the quality of the racing or ability to overtake should be dependant on that.

    If circumstances remove some of the need to manage energy & allow for drivers to push harder then they shouldn’t be looking at artificial elements to force more management, Especially something like simply extending races.

    It’s like F1 deciding they want to create more tyre degredation towards the end of a race to spice things up & therefore just extending the number of laps to take the tyres more towards the limit.

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