Formula E

"Must take responsibility" - Nick Cassidy self-critical after Formula E accident in Sao Paulo

Svenja König

Svenja König

From hero to zero: After a brilliant start to the 2024 Formula E season with a win and two more podiums, Nick Cassidy retired in Sao Paulo with ten laps to go. Due to a collision with Nyck de Vries, his damaged front wing had slipped under the front tyre of his Jaguar. The car crashed into the barriers - no chance for the New Zealander to prevent this accident. Team boss James Barclay criticises how racing has changed in the Gen3 era.

In the first free practice session on Friday evening (CET), everything went well from Cassidy's point of view. He finished the session in second place, two tenths of a second behind his team-mate Mitch Evans, which seemed a little suspicious to him: "P2 in FP1 is probably a career best. Normally FP1 is not my thing," he joked on his broadcast channel Broad-Cass.

On the actual race day, however, not much went right for the New Zealander. He only finished 12th in the second practice session, a trend that was to worsen in qualifying. He missed out on the duel phase against Nico Müller in the ABT Cupra by a hundredth of a second - an opponent against whom he has not often had to back down this season.

Cassidy self-critical

Although Sao Paulo offers significantly more overtaking opportunities thanks to slipstreams and long straights than most other circuits on the calendar, Cassidy was barely able to make up any positions. He was involved in close battles for positions in the midfield - his opponents included the two DS cars of Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne. "I had one of the fastest cars in the entire field," he says. At The Race, he adds: "I didn't make as much progress as I had hoped."

As a result, he took more risks to make up positions and was involved in several scraps - including with Nyck de Vries. The front wing in particular suffered: "I took a lot of risks. I had two or three contacts with the front wing. That's why I'm not happy with myself. Of course you can have bad luck, but when it happens three times, you have to take responsibility."

These battle scars were to be his undoing when he tried to attack Oliver Rowland for 7th place a little later. The wing broke off and slipped under the right front wheel. Cassidy lost control of his car and hit the wall at a 45-degree angle. An incident for which he takes full responsibility and takes a hard look at himself: "Today I have to look in the mirror, because I didn't do my job well enough today and I paid the price. I will think about it, reflect and try to do better."

 
 
 
 
 
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Barclay on the accordion effect: "This type of racing is slowly going crazy"

After this accident, which fortunately had a minor outcome, the question once again arises as to whether the race organisers should not require cars with defective front wings to make a pit stop with appropriate repairs for safety reasons. After all, this is not the first accident of this kind. Something similar happened to Nico Müller in Portland last season. The Swiss driver crashed into the walls with 27 g.

James Barclay argues that the accordion effect, which has been exacerbated by the third generation of cars and the "slipstream battles", is the real problem: "This type of racing is getting a bit crazy," he said in the World Signal. "You're trying to carry momentum into the corners and the cars are constantly stopping. We have to factor that into the strategy in the future, because it's very difficult for the drivers to predict and it cost Nick and the team the race today."

After the Sao Paulo E-Prix, Jaguar still leads the drivers', team and manufacturers' standings. They will have their next chance to score new points at the race in Tokyo in a fortnight' time.

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