Start chaos caused HWA team-mate clash

Multiple incidents at the start of the Marrakesh Formula E race led to the two HWA Racelab cars colliding, resulting in a double retirement.

Stoffel Vandoorne and Gary Paffett started 20th and 22nd on the grid respectively after both suffered reliability issues in qualifying.

Jean-Eric Vergne spun at Turn 1 after colliding with polesitter Sam Bird, with Pascal Wehrlein also going off after he was rear-ended by Lucas di Grassi. Unsighted in the melee, the two HWAs came together leaving Vandoorne with bodywork damage and Paffett with a puncture.

“The conditions were quite tricky because there was so much smoke with everything that happened in Turn 1 and I couldn’t really see where I was going. So suddenly Gary was there appearing out of the smoke and we had side-on contact,” Vandoorne told FormulaSpy.

“It’s a shame because obviously we weren’t starting in the best position but it’s important for us to try to actually get to the finish and learn how the racing environment goes.”

HWA has had three DNFs in two races, with Vandoorne’s 17th from Ad Diriyah also hindered by contact with the wall, which Paffett believes in affecting how much the team in learning in its inaugural season.

“I’m happy with the progress that we’ve made from Riyadh to here but obviously the learning was limited by the fact that we had a short race in Riyadh, especially today,” the reigning DTM champion told FormulaSpy.

“Today was especially disappointing because where we were on the grid there wasn’t much to gain early on. Getting points from today would have been very tough so the important thing to was learn as much as we could and we had two early retirements, so a bit of a waste of a day.

“I think we could have learnt a lot but it is what it is. We just need to make sure we do a better job overall in Chile.”

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Chris Stevens

Chris is a member of the Autosport Academy and has been writing about motorsport professionally since 2015. He has been one of the top Formula E journalists since he went to Donington Park for pre-season testing a week after picking up his A-Level results.

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