Controversial FIA rule change leaves driver stripped of victory baffled

Jamie Woodhouse
The FIA logo in the paddock

The FIA logo

Formula E’s Antonio Felix da Costa described it as “sad for the sport and the fans” after a spring deemed illegal by the FIA saw him stripped of victory.

The Portuguese driver claimed victory – or so he thought – in the opening race of what is set to be a Formula E double-header at Italy’s Misano Circuit, only to be disqualified after it was found that his throttle damper spring was in breach of the regulations. Felix da Costa is not best pleased.

Karun Chandhok confirms FIA rule change not conveyed to teams

The 32-year-old Porsche driver took to social media following the news to express his dismay over his disqualification, claiming teams were not told that this standardised part is now no longer permitted in the regulations, this shock turn of events one which he feels does not reflect well on the series.

“I’ve just been disqualified from todays win. Apparently the throttle pedal spring, that is made [by] a unique supplier to all teams, is no longer valid for this year,” Felix da Costa posted.

“Teams were not notified. Sad for the sport and the fans, to try and explain and understand this. Rules are rules…”

Sky F1 pundit Karun Chandhok, who also serves as a Formula E analyst, attempted to provide some clarity on the situation, as he compared this now illegal spring to the new one in use. The current one is grey, compared to the previous red one.

And in-keeping with Felix da Costa’s claim, Chandhok said at some point in-season, the clause that allowed teams to still use the old version was removed, without teams being made aware of this, leading to sympathy across the pit lane for Felix da Costa and Porsche.

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“The cars were supplied at the start of the season with that red spring, which is slightly longer,” he began.

“But the reality is, that is a spring that was allowed to run last year, the teams were supplied with these at the start of the season in the cars, because they had to get produced enough of those [picks up the grey spring].

“The teams are all given a 170-page document which is full of all the parts, it’s like a parts catalogue. Somewhere in that catalogue, at some point earlier in the season, the line about being able to use that [holds up the red spring] was removed.

“Now, from a teams’ perspective, they’re obviously obliged to have a car that is legal and complies to the regulations, but you have to feel sympathy, and I have to say, every other team in the pit lane feels sympathy, because a line has basically been removed from a document, without them being told about it and that just seems really harsh.”

Felix da Costa’s disqualification meant Nissan’s Oliver Rowland inherited the victory.

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