It’s not the first time a Formula E driver has gone from a lap one calamity to get the point for Visa Fastest Lap – or that that’s been significant, it decided last year’s championship. But it’s hardly the way any driver wants to do it: reliant on the second car and out of the race.
Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans took the team’s first trophy in the championship, but maybe not the way he would have wanted to.
Mitch explained what exactly happened with his first car, which he had to retire in the very early stages of the race.
“We had a good start and we gained a couple of positions into turn 1,” said the Kiwi. “It was looking good but then there was a concertina effect into 2 and 3 so I went round the outside and got into position and then coming to exit – I just spoke to Stephane Sarrazin and he said he didn’t see me but he just ran me into the wall.”
With caution presumed high on every driver’s agenda this Saturday – less than 16 hours between the end of today’s race and FP1 tomorrow if a car has to be put back together – a lap one retirement because of a collision was unexpected – Evans disappearing from the timing boards and reappearing five laps down was possibly the biggest shock of a fairly evenly ordered race.
“I had quite a bit of damage to the car – broken suspension and the rims were damaged so we had to retire that car and then opt to change strategies and go for fastest lap with car B.”
Still, his points scoring run from Mexico to now continues, thanks to some speedy work from his Jaguar mechanics on the second car.
“I managed to get the fastest lap award, I got a point so it’s not a disaster. And I managed to get some knowledge for tomorrow in the race so that’s the way it goes sometimes but we’ll fight back tomorrow.”
At the first two races of the year, and in fact qualifying today, a Jaguar picking up the Visa Fastest Lap award would have seemed fairly inconceivable. So although retiring a car with damage, especially with another race tomorrow, is a serious headache (and late night) for the team, Evans did say it was encouraging that they could recover.
“Yeah, I mean it’s always good to get it. Most of the drivers are energy saving so it’s not overly representative but it was still good to get it, to get the point and try and get something out of today after the incident in the first lap.”
Is it possible to come back with two working cars by 8am tomorrow? Mitch reckoned so, although we’re pretty glad we’re not the Jaguar mechanics…
“We still have a bit of work to do before tomorrow so we’ll be hoping to make some improvements and come back stronger. It’s hard to say (what can be done tomorrow) as I didn’t really do the race today so in terms of race pace I’m not really sure where it’s at but if I can get in the points I’ll be happy with that.”