Edoardo Mortara said he feared his Diriyah ABB FIA Formula E World Championship crash would be “the end” and that he expected “several severe injuries” at least.
The Venturi driver underwent precautionary checks in hospital after the accident, but was pronounced fit to take part in today’s race.
Ultimately it was not possible for the car to be rebuilt in time so he is sitting it out.
The crash happened when a brake problem caused Mortara’s Venturi-run Mercedes to plough straight on down the Turn 1 escape road immediately after making a practice start at the end of Saturday’s practice session.
Mortara had a violent head-on impact with the barriers at the end of the runoff area.
“I would lie if I would tell you that I’m perfectly fine,” a sore Mortara told the Formula E broadcast.
“I have some big pain actually from the crash this morning.
“But I’m very thankful and grateful that I don’t have like several severe injuries or anything.
“It was not a great feeling. It’s a feeling that I’d like actually to forget.
“I felt a bit like a passenger and there was nothing I could do.
“I had no brakes anymore and just went into the wall.
“And to be frank with you, I thought that was pretty much the end for me so not a nice feeling.”
All four cars were Mercedes powertrains were barred from taking part in qualifying while the cause of Mortara’s crash was investigated.
Mercedes identified a software issue that had stopped its usual fail-safe system kicking in when a problem with the brake-by-wire system occurred.
It was able to make changes to its software that satisfied the FIA its cars would be safe to race, meaning the works cars of Friday race winner Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne plus Mortara’s team-mate Norman Nato can all start the race from the back.
Mortara had finished second in the season-opener on Friday night, pulling off a remarkable through-the-middle passing move on Pascal Wehrlein and Mitch Evans along the way.