until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula E

Porsche and Wehrlein hit with another Formula E penalty

by Sam Smith
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Porsche Formula E driver Pascal Wehrlein has been demoted off the podium from Sunday’s Puebla E-Prix after being penalised for improper fanboost use.

It is the second race in succession that he has been sanctioned for a technical offence, after he and Porsche lost a first win in the all-electric championship on Saturday because the team had not correctly declared which tyres it would use in the race. That disqualification is being appealed.

Wehrlein was given a post-penalty of an additional 4s to his race two time, dropping him from second down to fourth.

It means that Nick Cassidy moves up to second place with Oliver Rowland taking third placed points.

Wehrlein’s second consecutive penalty after a leading finish means that he lost a net 31 points from the weekend. He would have been leading the points standings coming away from Mexico had his on-the-road positions stood but is instead now down to 12th in the championship, 24 points away from new leader and Sunday winner Edoardo Mortara.

The Porsche team was notified about an investigation about a possible instance of excess power use just before the end of Sunday’s race but Wehrlein was allowed to attend the post-race podium ceremony.

Pascal Wehrlein Edoardo Mortara

The original message about the investigation then disappeared from the official race control messages board displayed on the live timing feed and initially confused many into believing it was either an erroneous message or was intended for Tom Blomqvist, who also got penalised for overpowering.

Overpower moments usually occur when track bumps cause rpm spikes and then associated oscillations in the powertrain which can go over the FIA’s designated tolerance.

But over three hours after the end of the race, a stewards bulletin announcing Wehrlein’s penalty revealed that the issue had turned out to be related to the fanboost extra power that drivers can earn through a fan vote at each race. It appears Wehrlein was told to deploy it too late and didn’t have enough useable energy left in the car at the time. The rules demand that fanboost is used if a driver is awarded it.

Fanboost is limited to extra energy of a maximum of 100kJ and a minimum power of 240kW and maximum of 250kW. The driver can take it whenever they like but only after 22 minutes of racing.

Although Porsche is yet to comment specifically on the penalty The Race understands that it tried to use the fan boost in a low state-of-charge (SOC).

“The stewards received a technical report about overpower,” said the statement.

“After hearing the mentioned persons the stewards found there was no overpower but an improper use of the fanboost.

“The technical data shows that the driver activated the fanboost but due to the low remaining energy in the car the minimum power of 240kW was not reached.

“The technical data shows that the maximum energy of 100kJ was not completely used.

“Due to this proof the stewards consider no overpower, with the consequence of a penalty above.”

The Race understands that the Porsche team was locked in talks with the stewards regarding the latest penalty for several hours.

Prior to the sanction being confirmed Wehrlein said that “normally that happens over a bump or something on the straights when you’re on full throttle.

“Normally it’s something on the software, not much you can do as a driver.”

He added jokingly: “But yeah, would be a surprise if we were not under investigation again today after yesterday so let’s see.”

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