De Vries defends ignoring ‘foolish’ Mercedes group order

Nyck de Vries felt the Mercedes Formulation E squad’s group orders within the last levels of Sunday’s London E-Prix had been an try to “over-engineer” the race – therefore why he ignored the request to assist championship-leading team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne.

De Vries was operating in third place however had a suspected damaged damper on his Mercedes EQ Silver Arrow 02, albeit whereas nonetheless having fun with a cushty hole over his fourth positioned team-mate.

Vandoorne had come by way of from a thirteenth place grid begin, and regardless of struggling some harm in some bodily midfield battles within the opening levels, emerged in fourth place within the closing minutes.

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Together with his closest title rival, Mitch Evans, being pressured to retire with a mechanical failure, Vandoorne’s 24-point pre-race championship lead prolonged to 36 with 58 obtainable within the season-closing Seoul double-header in a fortnight.

Nonetheless, this might have turn out to be 39 had De Vries adopted the order to offer his hard-won podium away.

The prospect solely arose when Evans retired, as a result of earlier than then the Jaguar had been operating between the 2 Mercedes.

When it stopped, the last-lap order to offer third place up was given to de Vries firstly by way of his engineer Albert Lau, who had in flip been given the order by way of group principal Ian James.

Lau then additionally gave his driver a transparent indication on the gaps between the Mercedes pair and Antonio Felix da Costa’s fifth positioned DS on the penultimate lap to assist him choose the place swap. These gaps had been seven seconds and three seconds respectively.

However de Vries instantly questioned the decision after which gave element on why he wouldn’t observe it.

“Why? Give me one motive. He’s [Vandoorne] obtained the factors,” De Vries stated on the radio.

“I’m ready to drive for Stoffel however with three rounds to go and 25 factors lead I see no motive to surrender a podium.”

After the chequered flag he then despatched a message direct to group principal James, stating: “Ian, you’re allowed to say what you need to say.”

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“Seven seconds!” he added referring to the time benefit he had over Vandoorne heading into the final lap.

“I imply, I believed my left wheel was going to drop off.”

That associated to some harm De Vries had picked up within the race that he stated was affecting the dealing with of his automobile.

De Vries later stated he had “clearly began backing off” after he realised the dealing with of the automobile was unstable.

“I used to be personally, initially, afraid that if I used to be going to again off and one thing would have occurred with my left entrance, then I might jeopardise extra factors, and on the identical time I knew that Stoff’s title contenders had been all behind him, he has a really snug lead and there’s no query on him successful the championship,” de Vries informed The Race.

“I simply felt with three rounds to go it was a really foolish name at that time given the hole [between Vandoorne and him on track].

“If we’re simply behind one another, nice, however I felt prefer it wasn’t learn correctly.”

De Vries additionally said that he was “greater than ready to do no matter is required within the last two races to safe the drivers’ championship” however at that time of the race he “simply didn’t see the need”.

The reigning champion additionally insisted to The Race that had the hole between the 2 Mercedes been smaller he would “100%” have swapped locations.

“However right here, I might have needed to cease fully and it could have regarded foolish and never the correct factor.”

De Vries summarised that Mercedes was “making an attempt to over-engineer and be too intelligent” within the state of affairs.

Mercedes will exit Formulation E after the 2022 season finale, with McLaren taking up its group.

Neither driver is staying on for that – with Vandoorne heading for DS’ new partnership with Dragon Penske and de Vries set to affix the brand new Maserati venture being run by what’s presently Venturi.

Workforce boss James emerged from the Mercedes debrief saying that the “dynamic modified in a short time” as soon as Evans was out and “we made the decision just about immediately, and that was a name that was taken in collaboration with the group right here, each the engineers and our strategists”.

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He acknowledged that “it wasn’t heeded” and stated Mercedes had all the time been clear it wouldn’t compromise considered one of its drivers in the event that they nonetheless had a title shot of their very own – which was now not the case for de Vries.

“I’ve all the time stated that till we’re at some extent the place it’s mathematically inconceivable for Nyck to win the drivers’ championship we’d suppose very arduous if that was the correct factor to do,” stated James of deploying group orders to assist Vandoorne.

“We’d reached that time and that was additionally acknowledged.

“There’s a component that he felt doubtlessly he might nonetheless get previous Jake [Dennis] for second after which that may change issues once more, clearly.

“However I feel as quickly because it was clear that that wasn’t going to be the case then our expectation was that we might in all probability be swapping the order.

“Having stated that, there was fairly a big hole between the 2 automobiles as effectively.”

James reasserted his earlier standpoint on intra-team choreography by admitting any such strikes had a level of jeopardy.

“As all the time in these conditions there are all kinds of nuances and many issues occurring all on the identical time and it’s one thing that clearly we’ll evaluation internally,” he added.

“We have to evaluation it internally in a small group and ensure there may be absolute readability on what the expectations are.”

From Vandoorne’s perspective he was fully unaware that the decision had been made to his team-mate and would solely say he “wasn’t indignant about it” and that “hopefully it shouldn’t make a distinction on the finish”.

“I feel the one time I’d give it some thought is that if I lose the championship by one or two factors, then it could have been the correct name to vary it,” Vandoorne added.

“However I need to take management of the state of affairs myself, hopefully do an excellent job once more in Seoul in each races after which hopefully have little question.”

Vandoorne acknowledged that his 36-point lead, with 58 to play for on the first ever Seoul E-Prix in two weeks’ time, was “undoubtedly a giant hole”.

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