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Abt disqualified from first race win for technical infringement

Daniel Abt has been disqualified from Race 2 of the Hong Kong ePrix, where it seemed he had taken his maiden victory in the series and first race win for five years.

The Audi factory driver was awarded the podium – and completed post-race press duties with second-place Felix Rosenqvist and a visibly distressed third-place Eduardo Mortara. Abt’s win had come following spins at turn 1 for Rosenqvist, which handed a 43-lap lead to Mortara before he also span at turn 2, giving Abt the late lead.

Coming on his 25th birthday, it seemed a perfect victory – but one of Abt’s cars was spotted fenced into scrutineering, before his other car was also taken away to the stewards.

The infringement is incredibly technical, at first glance:

The FIA security stickers (barcodes) on the inverter and MGU units did not correspond with those declared on the Technical Passport provided by the competitor Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler for the event.

Although this sounds like incredibly trivial grounds for a race disqualification, parts are attributed to specific cars, officiated as part of FIA homologation. The teams then detail the identifiers (barcodes) of the parts they are using in the car’s Technical Passport and those parts have to be the ones in the car when it is submitted to scrutineering post-race.

It’s to stop teams replacing broken parts without receiving penalties or using parts that would be disallowed under FIA rules. It sounds incredibly specific – and Audi can still appeal the decision – but essentially, although it’s probably an innocent admin error with barcode stickers, to all technical intents and purposes Abt’s car has failed a drugs test, in athletic terms.

This promotes Felix Rosenqvist to the win, Edoardo Mortara to second for Venturi and Mitch Evans to third – Jaguar’s first podium since they returned to racing.