Porsche's Jani couldn't see start lights in Diriyah Formula E opener

Alex Kalinauckas and Rachit Thukral
Porsche's Jani couldn't see FE start lights
Porsche's Jani couldn't see FE start lights

Porsche's Neel Jani says he lost a place on lap one of the Diriyah Formula E season opener because he could not see the start lights from his grid position.

Jani qualified 20th on the grid for what was his third-ever Formula E race, 13 places behind his experienced team-mate Andre Lotterer.

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While the starting sequence itself was rapid-fire, Jani said his problems went beyond that as his view of the starting lights was obstructed by other cars.

The starting grid for the Riyadh race was located on the elevated straight between Turns 17 and 18, with no repeater lights present to aid the visibility of drivers starting further down the pack.

"On the start, well I didn't see the lights," Jani revealed to Autosport.

"I never saw that, they almost went green [straight away].

"I never saw the red lights here because they were covered by the cars. I was like trying [to see over the top]. So that wasn't ideal.

"In the beginning we were a little bit too conservative, which doesn't change too much the race result, you have to be honest about that. But the gap would have been considerably smaller [to Andre]."

Porsche factory motorsport boss Pascal Zurlinden said the issue of the visibility of the start lights "will be discussed later" with the FIA.

Podium on series debut feels like "victory"

Porsche's Jani couldn't see FE start lights
Porsche's Jani couldn't see FE start lights

While Jani wound up 13th after a difficult opening half of the race, Lotterer charged to second, finishing 1.319 seconds behind the Audi-powered Envision Virgin Racing car of Sam Bird.

The result secured a debut podium for Porsche, which, unlike fellow German manufacturer Mercedes, has entered the 2019/20 season as a brand new team.

"It's living a dream at the end," said Zurlinden.

"It's a great achievement for all the hard work going back at [place] from all the guys and for the team and yeah, living a dream.

"I think for us, it was like a win to be second."

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