Eight-car crash halts Seoul Formula E opener

Formula E’s potentially title-deciding Seoul E-Prix has been red-flagged after an eight-car crash in which outgoing champion Nyck de Vries went underneath Sebastien Buemi’s Nissan.

The crash occurred at the fast final right-hander at the end of the opening lap on a damp track.

A very strange incident… what do you make of this?

📸 @FIAFormulaE pic.twitter.com/c5uOzDph64

— The Race (@wearetherace) August 13, 2022

Jaguar’s stand-in driver Norman Nato was first to slew into the barriers, with Buemi doing the same in his wake and de Vries’ Mercedes then hitting the back of the Nissan and going straight underneath it.

De Vries quickly let Mercedes know on team radio that he was unhurt, but he had to remain in the car for several minutes until recovery teams were able to remove the Nissan from on top of his car.

Dan Ticktum, Oliver Askew, Oliver Turvey, Andre Lotterer and Nick Cassidy all piled into the barriers and the crashed cars at the same spot within seconds of Nato, Buemi and de Vries’ initial impacts.

Driver interviews in the immediate aftermath suggested a mix of poor visibility in the spray, variable grip where the surface changes at that corner and cars ending up on the more slippery outside line as others protected the inside led to the bizarre sequence of near-simultaneous incidents.

Eight-car crash halts Seoul Formula E opener

Nato and Cassidy were able to quickly reverse out of the barriers and get back to the pits with what appeared to be relatively minor damage. They will all be able to take the restart – which will use the order cars were running in at the time of the crash rather than going back to the original grid – but the other six will not, meaning a 16-car field for the 43 minutes plus one lap still to run.

Title contender Mitch Evans was leading at the time, having made a brilliant start from third to immediately go three-abreast with front row pair Oliver Rowland and Lucas di Grassi.

Eight-car crash halts Seoul Formula E opener

He emerged from the first corner second behind di Grassi then passed the Venturi at the next turn. Di Grassi also lost out to Rowland again in the stadium section further around the lap.

Championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne moved up from seventh to sixth thanks to Pascal Wehrlein’s poor start from fourth, but was then overtaken by Jean-Eric vergne.

Remaining title contender Edoardo Mortara was running fifth.

The weather has brightened considerably during the red flag, meaning it could well be a fully dry race now.

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