Mercedes and customer team Venturi have been prevented from taking part in qualifying for the second Diriyah ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race after Edoardo Mortara’s massive post-practice crash.
Mortara is undergoing scans in hospital, having had a huge impact when his car appeared to fail to slow for the first corner following its practice start at the end of the practice session.
Safety personnel extracted Mortara from the car after it ploughed head-on into the barriers at the end of the runoff area, with the team reporting that he was conscious and communicating on the way to hospital.
As qualifying began, a race control message announced that the four cars with Mercedes powertrains were not permitted to take to the track while investigation of the cause of Mortara’s crash continued.
“To avoid risk of having a similar incident, the FIA has required a deep analysis on what happened to Mortara’s car to the team and to the manufacturer involved,” said an FIA statement.
“They are currently working on it in close collaboration with the FIA technical team.
“Until a solution has been identified and the problem solved, cars from both Venturi and Mercedes will not be allowed to go on track.”
Venturi then issued a statement saying it believed a brake failure led to the accident.
“Initial evaluations suggest that the accident was a result of brake failure,” it said. “The team will continue to investigate this thoroughly ahead of qualifying and race sessions.”
Mercedes had dominated the first half of the event, with Nyck de Vries fastest in every practice session before winning Friday night’s race from pole ahead of Mortara.
But de Vries, works team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne and Mortara’s team-mate Norman Nato will all have to miss qualifying while awaiting further information from race control on its investigation into the crash.
The Race understands that a brake-by-wire system problem is suspected.
Mercedes team principal Ian James told the Formula E broadcast that it was “obviously within the brake system but it would be speculation to say any more.”
He added that the team fully accepted the FIA’s ruling that its cars could not run yet.
“Unfortunately we had the incident with Edo in FP3 and after anything like that you need to make sure that you’re safe to go out in the other cars, which are effectively identical.
“We haven’t been able to prove yet that that’s going to be the case and clearly it’s the right decision from the FIA to make sure that we can do that before they let us go forward.
“The engineers are working hard on making sure that we can pull all that relevant information together and we can get ourselves back in the game.
“We’re well underway with knowing roughly which area to look at and the discussions have been ongoing with the FIA.
“We think we know what the failure was. What we need to make sure is that that failure can’t happen on the other cars as well and that’s what we’re working hard on now.”