Formula E probably didn’t have the season opening weekend it wanted right after a bunch of manufacturers announced they’re coming into the series. Saturday’s race was stopped for a crash that blocked the road on the very first lap of the 2017 season.
Ex-Porsche 919 driver André Lotterer got stuck in the wall on the first lap on the exit of the chicanes at Turns 3 and 4, bringing out Formula E’s first ever red flag in the series’ entire 34-race history. Lotterer ran wide after Nelson Piquet Jr.’s car bounced off the curbing to his inside, which led to Lotterer getting stuck in the wall at the tight corner.
No one could get past Lotterer’s car, so they temporarily had to shut it all down to pull everything together. It’s a crash that wouldn’t be out of place in the biggest too-narrow travesty that’s still in modern-day racing somehow: the Macau Grand Prix. Fortunately, unlike Macau, Lotterer getting stuck didn’t result in a big dumb pile-up collision.
Sam Bird ultimately won Saturday’s race, as even a drive-through penalty for missing his pit garage mid-race didn’t knock him out of the lead. The pit lane for the Hong Kong street circuit actually skips a couple turns on the course, and thus, the drive-thru didn’t seem to do much.
When people are saying that an extra drive through pit lane isn’t a real penalty and are comparing the course to the most ridiculous course in racing, maybe—just maybe—the course design needs tweaking.
Sunday’s race in the Hong Kong double-header avoided giving us any more flashbacks to Macau to save the drama for after the race, although it did have to start behind a safety car when the course lights weren’t working. (Not the best look for an electric series there!)
Daniel Abt thought he’d claimed his first-ever Formula E victory and his first race win since 2012 until he was disqualified in post-race inspection for running inverters and motor generator units on the car that weren’t declared before the race, per e-Racing365. It was Abt’s birthday, too—ouch.
An Audi team statement blamed an “administrative mistake” for the undeclared parts, and claimed that Abt’s parts were legal aside from the numbers not matching. Felix Rosenqvist, who had driven back up to second from an early spin, was declared the winner instead.