Edoardo Mortara, Venturi, Diriyah E-Prix, Race 2, Saudi Arabia, 2022

Race control ‘took all safety measures into account’ under Safety Car, insists Elkins

Formula E

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FIA Formula E race director Scot Elkins insisted his team took “all safety measures into account” during the late Safety Car in the Diriyah E-Prix.

The second race of the weekend in Saudi Arabia was cut short after Alexander Sims spun his Mahindra at turn six with just under ten minutes of race time remaining, prompting the Safety Car to be deployed.

However, there were concerning scenes when a telehandler vehicle sent to recover Sims’s car appeared to block the circuit, causing the Safety Car and the field following it to bunch up suddenly and leading to several drivers hitting cars in front. Robert Frijns later described the incident as “quite dangerous”.

Then, as Sims’s vehicle was being recovered, cars appeared to pass alarmingly close to the dangling Mahindra, with Mitch Evans’s car driving past while the suspended car was in line with the Halo safety device on his Jaguar.

Asked by RaceFans about the late Safety Car and the decision not to red flag the race, Elkins explained that he did not expect the process of recovering the Mahindra to take as long as it did.

“It should have been very smooth,” explained Elkins. “We know where the equipment is, we know where the incident is and then we know where we’re taking the car after we retrieve it.

“In this case, we had equipment at turn five, we had an incident between turns seven and six and we had a hole at turn eight. So, really, it should’ve been very simple to just come out, pick it up and move it and drop it off and go back to racing – and that was the intention. And again, based on our historical references and what we’ve seen in the past, that should have taken about four minutes and then it didn’t, and that was the issue.”

Addressing the concerns raised on social media about the potential dangers of drivers passing close to a stricken car as it was being lifted off the circuit, Elkins insisted that he and his team had taken all reasonable steps to recover the car safely.

“I think everybody would notice that the Safety Car slowed down to under 10km/h going through there, almost to the point of where the entire field stopped,” Elkins said. “So clearly, we’re taking care of what we’re doing there.

“But, again, as a street circuit, it’s narrow. It’s difficult to do that. But we were taking all of those safety measures into account – again, really slowing the safety car down really, really slowly. That’s probably the one error – of not giving everybody a heads up that the safety of slowing down, because it did back up a little bit and was a little bit discombobulated. But it surely wasn’t anything that we were doing in any way that we wouldn’t normally do on a street circuit.”

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....
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...

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13 comments on “Race control ‘took all safety measures into account’ under Safety Car, insists Elkins”

  1. They obviously need someone like masi.

    1. @erikje Well, you may get your wish in March :))

  2. Jeffrey Powell
    29th January 2022, 23:43

    I’d really like to see Max do a few E events, even with his brilliant driving he would get caught at some stage by the other dogems. Certainly the repair bills would escalate to alarming amounts it might be necessary to fit the all round bumpers like those at fair grounds, I suppose now he has been elevated to a virtual deity I will just have to remain disappointed.

    1. @Jeffrey Powell

      I suppose now he has been elevated to a virtual deity

      Yes, it’s at the point where it’s become an infatuation with some of his followers, just look at some of the posts about him on this forum, I do find it a little disturbing.
      It reminds me of some of Senna’s followers who seemed to believe he was ordained to be WDC by God, it’s not healthy.

      1. Why not, Saint Hamilton is already the main protagonist on this forum.
        We need some balancing.

  3. Red flag should’ve been wave!
    This would help clean the track safetily and also would given us 10 minutes of a great Race that was happening…
    FIA don’t think about the entertainment of sport for those like it and pay for watch. I don’t want to see a parede of cars in a row in a competition. Feeling this will be the mentality of FIA for F1 too. Boring! Thumbs down to FIA

  4. I can’t imagine what headlines there would be if this would have happened in F1

  5. Another official insisting that they did everything right when it’s obvious to anyone with eyes and a bit of sense that it was anything but. How many times did we see the same from Masi the past two years? The problem with this “I can do no wrong” complex is that we may soon see consequences worse than a manipulated championship.

  6. Any reasonable person looking at that would have responded ‘whoa that isnt safe’.

    Can we get rid of safety cars already. VSC or red flag only. And red flag tire changes don’t count as required change.

    1. Red flag should have parc-ferme style. No changes at all. If needs it, you’ll drop to last.

  7. What I’ve taken from this is that if a racing car falls on your head, it’ll be fine if you’re going really slow.

    The FIA have lost what was left of their sanity.

  8. Yeah, that really was an accident waiting to happen there, even if they DID expect it not to last that long, they should have checked!

  9. Nick the Stat
    1st February 2022, 11:29

    After all that has happened over the past 12 months, particularly in F1, surely it is time for the FIA to look at the consistency of application of their rules.
    Fans, bias aside, mostly want to watch fair racing and understand the pluses and pitfalls of any given situation, rather than it being open to a potential ‘lottery’ of an individual’s interpretation.
    When senior racing figures including current driver’s start saying they do not understand the rules and how they will be applied it is clear we are at a point of severe crisis that needs to be addressed with immediate effect or…

    …more professionals in the sport will become disillusioned and leave as soon as possible. Moreover, there is the loss the trust, respect, attention, viewing figures and financial support of the motor sport fans. The choice is yours FIA.

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