Why Sam Bird & Sergio Sette Camara missed the start at the Formula E race in Jakarta
There were already two retirements to report before Sunday's Formula E race in Jakarta: Sam Bird and Sergio Sette Camara both failed to start due to technical problems. While Nio 333's problem occurred 15 minutes before the race start, Jaguar was caught by surprise just before the start procedure. Bird, in particular, was frustrated over his non-participation after the collision with his teammate Mitch Evans the day before.
Sam Bird's Jaguar experienced an unspecified technical problem shortly before the race start. The race director decided to interrupt the starting procedure to remove the car from the seventh row of the grid and let it be pushed back into the pit lane. Here Bird got out of the Jaguar I-Type 6 after a short time, as the mechanics were not able to fix the problem in time. For the Briton, it was already the second time this season that he had to skip a race, following his accident-related retirement from the start in Cape Town.
"Unfortunately Sam was unable to take part in today's race due to a technical issue that occurred on the grid. The team are investigating the cause," Jaguar TCS Racing announced while the race was still underway.
Unfortunately Sam was unable to take part in today's race due to a technical issue that occurred on the grid. The team are investigating the cause. #JakartaEPrix ??- Jaguar TCS Racing (@JaguarRacing) June 4, 2023
"Another difficult day today for me," said Sam Bird himself after the race. "So far this year we’ve been so strong as a team, and won a lot of races, but this weekend we struggled to match the ultimate pace. The podium was some silver lining for the team’s efforts. We’ll all be working really hard to make sure we head to Portland in the best place."
"An unfortunate outcome for Sam today," described Jaguar team principal James Barclay. "We will look into the technical issue that ruled him out of the race. Our focus also now shifts to the inaugural Portland E-Prix."
"Temporary electrical problem" puts Sette Camara out of action
The Bird defect widened an already existing gap on the grid. That's because the Gen3 car of Sergio Sette Camara, which had been placed immediately behind the Briton's Jaguar, had already been pushed back into the pits 15 minutes earlier. "We're currently experiencing a intermittent electrical issue with Car #3," Nio 333 announced via its Twitter account minutes before the race start. "Our team is working diligently to resolve it." A more detailed explanation from the team is still pending.
Since the repair was not possible on the grid, the vehicle was pushed into the pit lane. But even here it was not possible to get the Nio 333 running again in time for the race start. "We are not racing today, team found some electrical issues in the car that cannot be fixed on time," Sette Camara announced on Twitter shortly after.
We are not racing today, team found some electrical issues in the car that cannot be fixed on time. // Nao vamos nem largar hoje, identificaram um problema eletrico grave no meu carro, e ele teve que ser removido do grid antes da largada. Muito chateado! ? https://t.co/8uMbj0dEaO- Sérgio Sette Câmara (@sergiosettecama) June 4, 2023
This means there have now been eight times this season when a driver has been unable to start a race. In addition to Bird in Cape Town and Maximilian Günther in Diriyya, who had suffered an accident in qualifying, the four Mahindra vehicles were withdrawn from the Cape Town E-Prix for safety reasons due to a problem with the rear suspension. There had not been a technical defect on the Gen3 cars that prevented them from starting before the Jakarta E-Prix.
Whether it was a coincidence or if possibly the difficult weather conditions in Indonesia played a role is still unclear. Bird and Sette Camara will in all likelihood be back on the grid in around three weeks: On June 24, the USA race of this year's Formula E season will take place in Portland.