Nyck De Vries will take a drop of five grid places at the first Valencia E-Prix later this month after being adjudged to have caused the accident which eliminated himself and championship points leader Sam Bird.
The accident occurred on the final lap of the race immediately after the track went green following a late-race safety car triggered by Rene Rast’s crashed Audi.
The Jaguar and the Mercedes were fighting for what at the time was the final point of the race, although several penalties to drivers ahead of them would have likely seen both score additionally had they made it to the chequered flag.
De Vries dived to the inside of Bird’s Jaguar but appeared to lose it on bumps under braking for turn seven. Contact with the Jaguar sent both in the wall and collected Oliver Rowland’s innocent Nissan as they did so.
While Rowland escaped with minor damage, the Mercedes and the Jaguar were out on the spot.
De Vries called the shunt “a racing incident” but added that “with the benefit of hindsight, I would say that I probably wanted the point too badly, which was not even necessary, as a number of penalties were set to be awarded after the race.”
“Also, ours would have been the fastest lap of the race. It just wasn’t meant to be today.”
Bird was perplexed about the incident and decided to reserve judgment before reviewing it privately after his post-race commitments
“I’m not entirely sure what’s happened, I think the combination of flat-out cars, cold brakes on a slippery surface don’t really combine very well,” Bird told The Race.
“It seems like Nyck has gone down the inside but I want to reserve judgment and don’t want to blame anybody until I’ve seen it but anyway it turned into a bit of chaos.”
Despite the accident, Bird remains atop the standings table with 43 points, but De Vries non-scores at Rome means he drops from third to sixth position.
Mercedes EQ team principal told The Race that De Vries was in line for “a great result considering he was so compromised by the weather (in qualifying.)”
“It’s a great shame for him, because we obviously was in group one, which is tough at the best of times, but he was further impacted by the weather today, and he started pretty far back,” added James.
“Nyck was making good progress through the fields, so we had a good opportunity to score some points. Unfortunately, that didn’t come to fruition but we’ll now re-set for Valencia.”