Formula E

Cassidy loses New York pole as 30-place penalty applied

by Sam Smith
4 min read

Nick Cassidy has lost his New York Formula E race two pole after it emerged the repairs to his Envision Audi following Saturday’s huge crash triggered a 30-place penalty.

Both Cassidy and Mercedes driver Stoffel Vandoorne are racing with new chassis because their previous cars were too badly damaged to continue in the event following the multi-car aquaplaning accident that brought race one to an early end.

First time winner Cassidy, who regained first place on countback despite being first car to crash, saw his tub destroyed and a large section of the rear of his car including the spec battery replaced ahead of the 11pm local curfew time for parc ferme conditions.

He then went out and appeared to have reprised his pole position of yesterday only for the FIA to then reveal that the repairs had included requiring a fifth RESS radiator of the season – which triggered the penalty that will elevate Antonio Felix da Costa to pole. That change had been documented by the FIA earlier in the morning, but the penalty could not be applied until the grid was set, so Formula E still declared Cassidy the polesitter at first.

Envision’s team manager, Leon Price told The Race that the secondary impact via Vandoorne’s out of control Mercedes was the one that caused the vast majority of damage to the green Audi.

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“I think the initial accident wasn’t so bad, probably just the front end. But obviously the following cars ploughing into the back of him did all the damage,” confirmed Price.

“We ended up changing the whole rear end, the battery [which had a cracked casing] and the chassis.

“It was a long night but we got out pretty much on time. The team did a really good job on getting the cars fixed, and then we had an early scrutineering this morning.”

It had seemed that no further action would be implemented by the FIA stewards after the technical delegate’s report was considered, meaning that Cassidy would be able to start from pole position and Vandoorne from sixth. But while Cassidy does get a penalty after all, Vandoorne is free to start from what will now be fifth.

“We carry a spare just in case we need it,” Mercedes EQ team manager, Gary Paffett, told The Race.

“But actually, within the rules, you’re only allowed to use one. So, after yesterday’s crash, we obviously made a request to the FIA to change the chassis due to the damage to it, which we’re allowed to do.”

The reason why no penalties were applied for the survival cell changes to Cassidy and Vandoorne’s cars is due to the exceptional circumstances of the incident on Saturday. These were seen as safety related component changes whereas the RESS radiator on Cassidy’s car was viewed as a performance related part and therefore penalty eligible.

“I think that if you are in an incident which is probably caused by yourself and you’ve done it, you would receive a penalty for changing the chassis, but because of the circumstances around the crash they [the FIA] took no further action,” suggested Paffett.

Mercedes EQ will evaluate the damaged monocoque next week because only one is by regulation allowed to be used per season.

“There’s a little bit going forwards because normally, we had go and try and repair the original chassis and race that again,” added Paffett.

“We have to see how that impacts us going forward to London and Seoul.”


Mercedes EQ utilised its spare power unit for the Sunday running while it inspects the one that took the impacts in the accident.

Depending on the state of that powertrain Mercedes EQ and Vandoorne may need to take penalties in the upcoming races.

“We still have to find out what is up with that PU and if we have that or if that has to be repaired,” Paffett added.

“If we have to start introducing new components like a gearbox or anything to do with the power unit, then we’ll receive a penalty for that but we’ll see once we inspect that.”

Lucas di Grassi’s damaged Venturi Mercedes, the third car involved in the most violent part of the Saturday crash, did not require a new monocoque but did need significant repairs.

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