Formula E

"Structurally quite weak vehicle" - Rowland & Rast explain late Formula E accident in Mexico

Tobias Wirtz

Tobias Wirtz

McLaren driver Rene Rast has started the 2023 Formula E World Championship with a retirement. The driver from Minden collided with Mahindra driver Oliver Rowland in the battle for position 13 during his comeback after a season of abstinence and subsequently retired with a broken suspension. Both riders blame the more sensitive new Gen3 vehicle.

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Rene Rast's return to Formula E after a season's break ended four laps from the finish on the side of the track. The cause was slight contact with Rowland in the hairpin area, as a result of which the German had to park his McLaren on the grass.

"Unfortunately, Rowland pulled to the inside on the right and we touched in turns 5 and 6," Rast told 'Autosport' after the race. "My front right suspension broke in the process. Unfortunately, that ended my race. I think we did what we could from 15th on the grid. There was more in it for sure, but it just didn't work out in the end."

"I was on the inside, and in the middle of the corner our wheels touched," said Rowland, his opponent in the accident, describing the situation. "That went pretty unfortunate for him to drop out because of that. It must have been a really bad angle. I mean, we barely made contact. It wasn't like we touched hard."

Rowland: "You have to risk more to overtake"

The Gen3 cars are deliberately designed to be much more fragile than their predecessors. The racing series intends that racing will be "cleaner" because the drivers with the robust Gen2 bolides have accepted more frequent touches. A calculation that seems to work out, because it leads to the fact that contacts do not remain without consequences.

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This is also confirmed by Rowland: "The car is structurally quite weak," says the Briton. "Last year there would have been nothing (with such contact). You have to risk more with this car to overtake. You risk more and get damage more easily. Then on tracks like this (where it's hard to overtake) there's some wear and tear."

However, Rast doesn't have much time to fret: the next two races for the former Aguri and Audi driver are already scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Diriyya.

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