Diriyah FE: Former F1 driver Hartley ends debut with two penalties

Alex Kalinauckas
Hartley ends Formula E debut with two penalties
Hartley ends Formula E debut with two penalties

Ex-Formula 1 driver Brendon Hartley says his Diriyah Formula E debut "wasn't a very successful first day on the job" after finishing 19th with two separate penalties.

Hartley got off to a difficult start when he crashed in FP1 after sliding wide going through the long Turn 4 right-hander and hitting the wall with the left-rear of his car, breaking his suspension.

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The incident was caused by the track surface breaking up, which led to a track alteration before FP2, in which Hartley only came out for two untimed laps after his car was repaired.

He qualified 18th after "discovering [the track alteration] and discovering 250kW on the track" during the grid-setting session.

In the race, Hartley was one of three drivers - along with BMW Andretti's Maximilan Guenther and Ma Qing Hua (NIO) - to receive a drivethrough penalty for a throttle-map infringement described in an FIA bulletin as "power out of RESS [battery] not respecting the homologated throttle pedal map".

Hartley later had 10 seconds added to his race time for not using the full four minutes of his second attack mode activation, though this did not cost him a position in the final result.

"It wasn't a very successful first day on the job," the Dragon Racing driver told Autosport.

"We had a crash in the first free practice - the track was breaking up.

"[That] meant we lost the last bit of time there, and we didn't get out of free practice two. So, we were kind of on the backfoot.

"We thought we had some pace in the race, but it didn't turn out to be the case - we really struggled for pace and [Dragon is] now investigating why."

Hartely's Dragon team-mate Nico Muller did not make his debut as the team could not repair his car in time for the start of the race after he crashed in qualifying.

Ma had 24s added to his race time for not serving his drivethrough penalty during the race, but he remained last - the only lapped finisher - after this was applied.

Hartley ends Formula E debut with two penalties
Hartley ends Formula E debut with two penalties

Jean-Eric Vergne also picked up a post-race penalty as he was reprimanded and given one penalty point for speeding in the pitlane as he came in to retire with a broken steering rack in the second half of the race.

Explaining his retirement, Vergne said: "I could not steer anymore, something was stuck - you cannot turn the steering wheel anymore.

"[The issue started] maybe five laps in, but it was driveable - heavy, but driveable.

"And then it became like [juddering] - it was only turning like this, I could not be precise anymore. [I thought] 'OK, I can continue like this not being precise, I'm gonna be slow, but maybe I can hold on and score some points'.

"But in the end, it was becoming too heavy and it was very unsafe for me to drive so I took the decision to stop. It was not possible [to race] anymore."

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