"If you misjudge the lift, you'll crash into the car in front" - Crash drivers explain rear-end collisions in Berlin
Both races of Formula E's "double-header" in Berlin saw an unusually high number of rear-end collisions. On Sunday alone, four drivers - Sebastien Buemi, Edoardo Mortara, Sam Bird and Andre Lotterer - had to have their front wings changed after collisions. Three times, a rear-end collision following a tailback at the entrance to a corner was the cause. After the race, we asked all affected pilots about the situations.
Due to the strong slipstream effect in the Gen3 car, a particularly large amount of energy had to be recovered during the races in Sao Paulo and Berlin. Drivers usually achieve this by taking their foot off the power pedal before entering the corner and letting the car roll for a few meters. As a result, the vehicles are slower than usual at the entrance to the bend - a tailback occurs.
The drivers in Berlin were not always able to react to this in time: "Of course, you don't know when the others lift (get off the power pedal). If you misjudge that, you drive into the person in front. It's so tight," said Sam Bird on the 'e-formula.news' microphone after the race. The Briton - just like Sebastien Buemi and Edoardo Mortara - had been involved in such a rear-end collision in Berlin. Porsche driver Antonio Felix da Costa had criticized the many touches due to traffic jams already on Saturday.
"Between turn 3 and turn 4, a car hit me from behind and pushed into Mitch (Evans)," the Briton described. "There's nothing you can do about that if your race just ends. In the process, I broke my wing and had to go into the pits to change it."
Mortara: "Have misjudged with the speed"
"The front wing is so unstable that it is broken after a small touch," said Sebastien Buemi also at 'e-Formel.de'. The Envision driver himself had hit Jake Dennis in turn 9. For the Briton, this had no negative consequences, but Buemi had to go into the pits and have the "nose" of his car replaced. "After that I was right at the back, and without a safety car you can't make up for that. I'm mad at myself. I should have done a better job there."
Similarly, Edoardo Mortara, who drove into the rear of another driver in turn 4, told us. "We were fighting. I misjudged the speed and didn't react quickly enough. After that, the race was virtually over." Mortara is similarly self-critical as Buemi in the question of guilt: "That was my fault," is the simple conclusion of the Swiss.
Brake problems at Andretti: "The same problem Jake had yesterday"
Andre Lotterer also returned to the pits after 13 laps with a broken front wing. Unlike Buemi, Mortara and Bird, however, he was not involved in an accident. The same brake problem that had cost teammate Jake Dennis a possible podium on Saturday also occurred Sunday for the Duisburg native: "That happened to us three times this weekend - to me yesterday and today once each, and with Jake it happened yesterday as well."
To 'e-formula.news', the German explains that as a driver, you can always only build up a certain brake pressure before the subsequently introduced emergency braking system turns on. Before the "snail curve" this was the case: Lotterer had to brake harder. "In turn 1, the system failed again, and then you have no brake at the back, only the hydraulic one at the front." So the Andretti driver hit the TecPro barrier, like Dennis the day before.
"We have to analyze why that was so sensitive," Lotterer concludes. For this, the team now has a little less than two weeks, because then the next weekend is already on the agenda: on May 6, Formula E starts in Monaco.