Fresh footage of the incident between Alexander Sims, Sam Bird and Lucas di Grassi at the Monaco E-Prix has emerged, casting doubt on whether Sims deserved to be given a penalty.
The incident, which ended with Sims receiving a grid penalty for the upcoming Berlin E-Prix, was captured on di Grassi’s onboard camera and shows it was triggered by Bird lightly touching the back of Sims’ BMW.
This caused the British racer to lock his rear wheels and take avoiding action, which in turn appears to have caused him to move left and collect di Grassi.
The onboard footage, which was not shown during the official feed coverage of the race, is not believed to have been shown to the drivers at their hearing after the race.
The fact is @AlexanderSims got a 5-place penalty for Berlin. From this view it is clear Sam Bird hit him. In my view, Sam should have been penalized and not Sims. The rule is clear – if by hitting someone in the back you cause damage or overtake, you must be penalized. pic.twitter.com/AReJD9EsfP
— LUCAS DI GRASSI (@LucasdiGrassi) May 13, 2019
“You can see from the onboard that Sam [Bird] taps the back of me, not maliciously, but my wheels come off the floor momentarily and I lock up,” Sims told e-racing365 on Tuesday.
“I can’t then slow down and I am heading for Antonio [Felix da Costa] who obviously I don’t want to hit so I move left and unfortunately Lucas is taken out of the race.
“I just don’t see how I can be accountable for that and it is especially obvious with this onboard footage.
Sims explained that processing the incident as it happened and then attending the stewards’ meeting after the race was difficult.
“The problem is that this all happens within half a second and then as soon as it has happened I am scrabbling around trying to get around the corner and recover the situation,” he said.
“You don’t immediately log in your mind what just happened. So I went to the stewards completely honestly and with what I thought might have happened at the time.
“Maybe this is my downfall and I am too honest but from the camera which is looking down the straight, which, by the way, is maybe 100 meters from the incident, it is difficult to make an accurate judgement call on that, isn’t it?
“So from the evidence we saw it was difficult for me to argue anything other than it was my fault for hitting Lucas.
“Then we see this onboard and it is quite clear that Sam just tapped me, and like I say it was in itself not a malicious thing.”
The International Sporting Code states that under Article 14.1.1 of its Appeals section:
“If, in Competitions forming part of an FIA Championship, cup, trophy, challenge or series, or of an international series, a significant and relevant new element is discovered which was unavailable to the parties seeking the review at the time of the Competition concerned, whether or not the stewards have already given a ruling, these stewards or, failing this, those designated by the FIA, must meet (in person or by other means) on a date agreed amongst themselves, summoning the party or parties concerned to hear any relevant explanations and to judge in the light of the facts and elements brought before them.”
Therefore, BMW i Andretti Motorsport could have some recourse for retrospective action regarding the incident should the onboard not have been viewed by stewards as part of their investigation to the incident.