First race at Rome EPrix red-flagged after violent, multi-car crash

Formula E

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The first Formula E race of the weekend at Rome has been red-flagged following a major crash involving at least six drivers.

The crash occured on the ninth lap of the race. Sam Bird, who was running fourth after starting from the front row, lost control of his Jaguar on the winding, full-throttle stretch between turns four and seven.

Bird struck the wall and his car came to a rest in the middle of the circuit. It was then struck by several of his rivals.

All those involved in the crash climbed from their cars unaided and no injuries have been reported.

Several drivers had taken their Attack Modes for the first time when the crash occurred. Bird, who had been passed by team mate Mitch Evans, Sacha Fenestraz and Rene Rast in the early laps, was rounding the left hander of turn six when he appeared to run wide and lost his car over the bumps, spinning into the barrier.

As the Jaguar came to a rest, it was struck by Sebastien Buemi on the rear, causing heavy damage to Buemi’s Envision. Antonio Felix da Costa, who was right behind the Envision driver, had no room to avoid Buemi and crashed into him.

The race was immediately red-flagged by race director Scot Elkins, but not soon enough to prevent Edoardo Mortara from rounding the corner and crashing hard into Bird’s Jaguar. Lucas di Grassi, Jean-Eric Vergne, Pascal Wehrlein and Robin Frijns all suffered damage while swerving to avoid the Jaguar.

“That was crazy,” said Vergne over team radio after passing the accident scene. Jaguar team principal James Barclay confirmed to Formula E world feed coverage that Bird had been checked and cleared by medical staff.

The race remains under red flag conditions as the accident is cleared. Fenestraz currently leads with Evans in second place.

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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...

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9 comments on “First race at Rome EPrix red-flagged after violent, multi-car crash”

  1. I have to thank the FIA for the safety of the Gen3 car whether that would be the halo which is an absolute fantastic addition to any single seater open wheel series and sure unfortunately the halo can’t save everyone’s lives but still makes fatalities less

  2. “Red-flagged after violent, multi-car crash” and not a single photo/video or link. Good journalism.

    1. They won’t be able to provide it, in order to prevent jeopardising their media credentials.

      It’s available on YouTube, and easy to find. If that’s not too much hard work.

    2. Steve Mitchell
      15th July 2023, 19:12

      Not sure if it’s been added since your comment, but I can see a video of it all in the article

  3. Wow. Two things caught my eye about this:
    1. Track marshals took too long to get to the crash site. When they finally did get there by the bucketloads, they kept off track only to be staring instead of attending the drivers. Even when the medical car arrived, they didn’t approach. In fact, they did not even started cleaning up the debris.
    2. How’s it possible a track with that bump in the middle of fast n long sweepers section? Will we see any kind of outrage similar to the Jeddah bashing? Because this is actually way more serious.

    1. Buemi was obviously very frustrated by the condition of the track contributing to the danger he and his fellow drivers faced at the site of the crash. Street circuits are all well and good, and Rome is one of their favourites, but it has to be safe. This isnt the first time, even this season, that bumps or road furniture have contributed to cars losing control at speed.

    2. Same as in Monaco drivers know there is a bumb they should knew about it before racing….

      But the lack of double yellows was more dangerous as drivers were at full speed and didn’t slow down at all.

  4. At some point, the FIA need to have a think about how they want drives to treat double waved yellows… When I was karting, we were expected to slow down quite a lot but when I watch a professional series higher up the chain, it seems as though the slightest lift is perfectly acceptable. A long time passed between Bird spinning and the 2nd car hitting him so there’s no excuse that they’d already passed the flags or anything like that.

    I don’t blame the drivers – it’s their job to push things to the limit of what they can get away with. If a 10mph reduction in speed is enough to avoid a penalty, that’s what they’ll all do but when you’ve got a car stuck in the middle of the track, it’s not acceptable to have cars flying past like that.

  5. So so lucky we didn’t have 2 or 3 with very serious injuries. The yellow flag took about 11 seconds to come out, allowing the entire remainder of the field (about 12 cars) to encounter the blind corner approaching top speed. Unacceptable.
    I don’t understand why they don’t use GPS to inform drivers that someone has stopped via their warning lights. Not necessarily automated, but it could immediately flash up the corresponding camera view to race control and prompt them to confirm the yellow via a button. This would be particularly appropriate on narrow street circuit corners where there is no run off, as any car stopped is very dangerous, on or off line.

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