Rome. Action-packed first day of racing at the Rome E-Prix (ITA): Maximilian Günther (GER) in the points as he finishes ninth at the third race of the season in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Jake Dennis (GBR) escaped a spectacular accident at the end of the first training session without injury but retired from the race early after a collision. The MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW celebrated its debut as the new FIA Formula E Safety Car.
It was a terrifying start to the day for Dennis and the BMW i Andretti Motorsport Team. There was a spectacular accident involving Dennis at the end of the first practice session, when drivers were actually intending to do their practice starts. Oliver Turvey (GBR, NIO) slammed into the cars that were at a standstill, causing serious damage to the BMW iFE.21. Thankfully, all the drivers involved emerged unscathed. The team was able to repair Dennis’ car in time for qualifying, but the Formula E rookie missed the entire second practice session. He secured 19th place on the grid in qualifying, while his team-mate Günther claimed sixth spot to move into the Super Pole. A penalty imposed after his accident in Diriyah (KSA) saw him start the race from eleventh position.
After rain showers, the Rome E-Prix started on a damp circuit behind the new FIA Formula E Safety Car, the MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW. Once the drivers were able to start racing, Günther remained involved in the battle for a place in the top ten, crossing the finish line in ninth despite spinning after contact with António Félix da Costa (POR, DS Techeetah). Dennis retired early after a not-at-fault collision with Nick Cassidy (NZL, Envision Virgin Racing). Events became tumultuous once again just before the end, with the race finishing behind the safety car after an accident for Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, Mercedes). Victory went to Jean-Éric Vergne (FRA, DS Techeetah).
The fourth race of the season starts on Sunday at 13:04 CEST.
Reactions to Race 3 in Rome.
Roger Griffiths (BMW i Andretti Motorsport Team Principal, team standings: 12th place):
“That was an eventful and difficult day for our team. It started with a hefty crash for Jake Dennis at the end of FP1. He took a hard hit from behind while he was at a standstill. The car was badly damaged and although the crew did a fantastic job to get it repaired, he missed out on a lot of preparation time before qualifying, which was reflected in the result. Maximilian Günther gave a good performance to reach Super Pole. He was lucky to be able to continue after spinning during the race. Finishing ninth and scoring two points was a consolation prize for us. Unfortunately, Jake had more bad luck and retired with suspension damage after an accident. Of course, we had hoped to score more than two points and we are disappointed with the result. But tomorrow is a new day and hopefully it will go better.”
Maximilian Günther (#28 BMW iFE.21, starting position: 11th place, race result: 9th place, points: 2, driver standings: 19th place):
“At the beginning the track was damp and very slippery and the race was chaotic. We were all very close together and it was basically all about getting the ATTACK MODES in at the right moment. I feel like we didn’t get the optimum out of it. A bit later I had a big moment. António Félix da Costa and I slightly touched, I ran wide, spun, hit the wall, but luckily kept the car going only losing a couple of positions. All in all it’s good to still take away some points after such a race. Now we have to analyse what we can improve for tomorrow.”
Jake Dennis (#27 BMW iFE.21, starting position: 19th place, race result: DNF, points: 0, driver standings: 24th place):
“A day to forget, to be honest. The race was pretty chaotic, but in the beginning I gained a couple of positions. Then I ended up crashing with Nick Cassidy who pushed me into the wall. There was nothing I could do, but I had to retire. It is frustrating that this has happened two times in two races now. I just need to forget about today, move on and hope to be a little luckier tomorrow.”
The FANBOOST vote.
FANBOOST gives Formula E fans the opportunity to vote for their favourite driver and award them an extra boost of power during the race. The five drivers with the most FANBOOST votes receive an extra 100 kJ of power, which they can make use of during a brief time frame in the second half of the race. Fans can vote for their favourite driver in the four days prior to, and leading up to 15 minutes into, each race.
The BMW Group Safety Cars.
The BMW Group has been represented in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship as ‘Official Vehicle Partner’ since the very beginning and will continue to provide the fleet of safety cars for season 7 of the fully-electric racing series. Alongside the BMW i8 Roadster Safety Car (fuel consumption (combined): 2.0 l /100 km; energy use (combined): 14.5 kWh /100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 46 g/km)*, which has been modified specially for racing use, the MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW will be appearing as a new safety car from the Rome E-Prix onwards. The development of the car based on the new MINI Cooper SE represents a hitherto unique collaboration between MINI Design, BMW Motorsport, the FIA and Formula E. The fleet also includes the BMW i3s (Power consumption in kWh/100: 14.6-14.0 (NEDC); 16.6-16.3 (WLTP), electric range in km: 278-283 (WLTP))* as ‘Race Director Car’ and the BMW iX3 (Power consumption in kWh/100: 17.8-17.5 (NEDC); 19.0-18.6 (WLTP), electric range in km: 450-458 (WLTP))* in its roles as ‘Medical Car’ and ‘Rescue Car’.