Formula E

Massa frustrated with ‘inconsistent’ di Grassi Formula E penalty

Aug 8 2020
By Sam Smith

Felipe Massa believes that Formula E has a penalty consistency problem after he was penalised in the third Berlin E-Prix for a collision with Lucas di Grassi.

Massa has questioned the evenness of sanctions handed out for incidents after he took a drive-through penalty which ended a potential points scoring position for the ROKiT Venturi driver.

The former Ferrari F1 driver cited di Grassi’s own crash with Jean-Eric Vergne in Wednesday evening’s race as an example of inconsistency from stewards – during which the Audi driver tagged the reigning champion’s DS Techeetah machine and sent him spinning out of the race.

On that occasion, the clash was not investigated and di Grassi was able to finish the race in eighth position.

After out-qualifying teammate Edoardo Mortara and starting 12th, Massa began the race brightly and started to build his most promising position since last season when he took a podium place at Monaco.

He was battling with di Grassi for eighth position when he challenged di Grassi at the first corner. The resulting contact half-spun di Grassi who lost five positions as a consequence.

Massa was then subsequently given a drive-through penalty and as a result dropped to the rear of the field before finishing a dispirited 19th.

When asked by The Race if he was frustrated that di Grassi was not even investigated for Wednesday’s incident, while his own resulted in a penalty, Massa said; “it’s inconsistent, this is the problem, it’s inconsistent.”

“I mean, this is, sorry to say that Formula E sometimes you have a similar incident, and Lucas was trying to pass and he dived into Vergne.

“I was holding the position and I was inside. He was trying to pass me outside, but I was inside and the corner is right, so he turned also (into) the line.”

Felipe Massa 2020

Di Grassi suggested that Massa’s move not only deserved the penalty but that his countryman’s actions were also unnecessary in the bigger picture of the race.

“He (Massa) spun me around by hitting my rear wheel with his front nose,” he said.

“I think the rule is pretty clear, if you spin someone from behind, you must get a drive-through, so I think the Race Director did the right job.

“Nevertheless, he didn’t need to do that also because I [had] just switched attack mode [on) so had four minutes, [and] I was going to overtake him there, or in another straight, so really he didn’t need to [make that move].”

Massa also rued what he described as ‘the wrong strategy in the team’ as his engineering appeared to miscalculate the number of laps that the race would run to after the lengthy safety car period.

“So you can imagine that the strategy today we didn’t follow in the right direction,” said a frustrated Massa.

“We need really to understand what to do better the strategy of the job.”

Felipe Massa Formula E Berlin 2020

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