Alexander Sims’ run of five races without scoring any points continued in Paris after he was taken out of contention by Oliver Rowland.
Sims’ weekend started badly when he hit the wall early in the second practice session and damaged both the front and rear of his BMW iFE.18.
This necessitated a precautionary powertrain change ahead of qualifying. It was the second successive such change made by the team after a breakage over the infamous bumps in Rome earlier this month.
“We’re not going to take a risk if you don’t find the problem and we only had an hour and a quarter to fix the car [before qualifying],” BMW i Andretti Motorsport team principal Roger Griffiths told e-racing365.
“There’s no penalty to change the powertrain, switch to a spare one, so we did that. It allows us to do proper damage assessment on it.”
Sims qualified in a lowly 18th but started 16th on the grid after both Mahindra Racing drivers were penalized.
“For a driver, first time back in the car and you’re straight into qualifying, having just crashed, you got to get over the psychological bit as well and I think Alex did a pretty decent job as well,” Griffiths said.
Sims’ race ended when he was collected out by an out-of-control Rowland who received a penalty for the contact.
“In the race, Alex was just an innocent victim,” said Griffiths.
“I don’t think he even knew what happened until he hit the barrier, so I think that came out of nowhere, so the challenges for him continue.”
BMW Won’t Give Up Despite Title Blow
BMW i Andretti Motorsport slipped further behind its rivals in the teams’ title chase in Paris and now places fifth and 52 points behind leader DS Techeetah.
“Considering where we started in qualifying, I think seventh place finish is a reasonable result,” Griffiths said when asked if the team considered the race a damage-limitation exercise after a poor qualifying performance.
“We would always like to be further up the field but getting to the end of the race with all four wheels on the car pointing in the right direction was pretty significant.
“Robin [Frijns] has a got a ten-point lead over Antonio [Felix da Costa] now, I think, but we’ve got to keep fighting, you don’t give up.”
“Last year, If we were third in the championship, we would have been ecstatic. Now, expectations are higher, we want to do well.
“We always come here with expectations of better, success, being on the podium. Top five, top six for both drivers, if you don’t get it, it’s disappointing.”