Reigning FIA Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne has raised concerns over the Santiago E-Prix street circuit after drivers encountered severe track breakup. 

High track temperatures, combined with extensive running of FE's Gen 2 cars throughout the day, caused the track surface at the new 2.4km Parque O’Higgins venue to begin to pull apart. 

Large chunks of asphalt marbling were visible both on and off the racing line at certain points around the race track, leading to a number of drivers voicing their concerns over team radio as the race progressed. 

Formula E Santiago E-Prix - Race In 60 Seconds

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Vergne, who ultimately retired, took to social media after the race to brand the track surface conditions as “extremely dangerous”. 

“Never seen a track like this, asphalt going off, making it extremely dangerous,” he tweeted. 

“And bumping into others was necessary to overtake … hope it will change.” 

Sebastien Buemi and Stoffel Vandoorne’s races both ended when they hit the wall after running wide onto the marbles in separate incidents, while Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara suffered a bizarre spin at the exit of the chicane - one of the worst-affected areas. 

BMW-Andretti driver Alexander Sims was handed a time penalty for being adjudged to have caused the incident, though he was adamant he had not made contact with Mortara. BMW launched a protest into the decision but it was rejected by the FIA. 

“I was surprised that he spun but after a few laps you see that the tarmac is ripping up more and more in many of the corners and the chicane was one of them,” Sims explained. 

“I think with the tarmac he might have just been unfortunate with the tarmac giving way from underneath him. 

“On many corners I went in and lost grip because the tarmac is giving up and there’s loads of pieces of asphalt on the outside.”

 

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