Environmentally unfriendly as Formula E race runs out of juice

Paris (AFP) –


Electrically-powered Formula E racing fell flat on Saturday when 12 of 24 cars taking part in the Valencia Grand Prix ran out of energy and failed to finish.

On a wet track where collisions were frequent, the safety car was called upon five times.

However, the regulations provide that the level of energy available to the single-seaters is recalculated downwards during such pauses in racing.

Having underestimated the distance of the race (the regulations providing for 45 minutes plus one lap) and therefore the amount of energy needed to complete it, half of the field ground to a halt on the last lap.

Race leader Antonio Felix da Costa of Portugal, in a DS Techeetah, was the most notable victim as Dutch driver Nyck de Vries in a Mercedes overtook him for victory.

"I wasn't expecting this," said De Vries who started the race with a five-place grid penalty.

"We were rather conservative (in the management of energy) and that paid off," said Mercedes team principal Ian James.

Switzerland's Nico Mueller, in a Dragon-Penske, was second while Mercedes' Stoffel Vandoorne was third.

"I am really surprised to be here on the podium," said the Belgian.