Oliver Turvey has been penalised for his part in this morning’s spectacular Formula E accident in opening practice for the first Rome E-Prix.
The NIO333 driver will start the race from the pitlane should his team manage to complete a rebuild of his car around a new survival cell in time for the 4pm local time scheduled race start.
Turvey will also get six penalty points on his licence for the incident, in which he ploughed into the back of both Jean-Eric Vergne and Jake Dennis while they were stationary preparing for practice starts.
The full bulletin issued by the FIA before the qualifying session stated: “After free practice one as usual drivers are allowed to make practice starts. Therefore, they queue up at the start line.
“Car number eight [Turvey] reaches that point with high speed and crashed into the end of the row, hitting two other cars.”
According to the FIA, Turvey stated to the stewards that he was “fully aware of these procedure, but a combination of circumstances let him completely forget.”.
The bulletin continued: “After watching the footage, hearing the radio communication between team and driver, taking into account that this massive accident was based on a human mistake. The stewards consider that the taken penalty is appropriate for this case.”
A dramatic end to Free Practice 1, but we're pleased to say all drivers involved are OK.#RomeEPrix pic.twitter.com/GVeNUJ4ABN
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) April 10, 2021
NIO333 team principal Christian Silk cited a “combination of circumstances” as the root cause of the accident.
“We’ve really got to understand as an ecosystem why this happened and look at all those circumstances,” he said.
“From what we can tell, if any one of those things hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t be in this situation now.
“After this event, we need to spend some time with the whole ecosystem working out what went wrong and what we need to improve.”
Crash victim Jake Dennis criticised the lack of any warning flags approaching the scene of the practice starts. They took place on the start straight which is off-set from the finish line at the new-look Rome track.
The bunching of cars at the start line meant cars were stationery just beyond the left-hand kink, which is completely blind to drivers on approach.
This, in addition to Turvey seemingly forgetting that drivers have an opportunity to stop for practice starts after the chequered flag in the session, appears to have significantly contributed to the incident.
“The nature of the circuit, the layout, the time, how busy the driver was on the radio all come into play,” added Silk.
“We need to look at all of those situations and mitigate against each of those problems.”
The Race understands that the accident is being investigated further and measures are set to be put in place for tomorrow’s second part of the Rome event.