The great spectacle and the imposing reception that the Portland E-Prix had was marred by the controversy involving DS PENSKE, which received a painful fine for irregularly collecting data from other teams.
According to a report by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), DS used a device capable of collecting data from other race cars. In this way, the team gained an unfair advantage during the Formula E competition, they claim in their statement.
In addition to the monetary penalty with 25,000 euros, drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Éric Vergne will also face sanctions.
From now on, they will have to wait at the end of the pit lane when joining the races, something that could affect the team’s performance.
Technology with Negative Usage
FIA regulations support the sanction, as no device, including RFID, can be installed in the pit lane. DS PENSKE‘s action therefore breaks with the intention to maintain a level playing field among all participants during the competition.
For his part, Vergne lashed out against the FIA’s decision, claiming that it is a “false accusation”, and that it is a “completely wrong” decision. However, the racer acknowledges the installation of the RFID device in Formula E, but they would not have been used for what the FIA describes.
“With the system we simply read the serial number of the tires to find out which ones others are using. Something any team can do (and surely does) by taking photos,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
Vergne also acknowledges that the device should not have been in the pit lane in the first place, and agrees with the FIA. However, he considers that the penalty was “quite harsh”.