As Sergio Sette Camara made his way to the start of the Mexico City E-Prix in his Formula E car last week, trouble erupted. A red light lit up inside his car, he hopped out, and then shortly after that, an unknown part exploded and left the car significantly damaged, e-Formula.news reports.
NIO 333 rebranded as Electric Racing Technologies (ERT) for the 2024 Formula E season. And things are off to a rather inauspicious start. The Mexico City E-Prix was the first race of the year, and the ERT car of Sergio Sette Camara didn’t even make it to the starting grid.
"There was a very loud noise at the back of the car," Camara told Motorsport.com, according to e.Formula.news and MotorsportWeek. "That was definitely a bigger problem. There was smoke and I saw the red light on the car, which indicates that the car is not safe. Then I jumped out of the car."
The exact part and cause of the failure are still not known. Although it appears to be a part related to the battery. Sette Camara shared his thoughts on his Instagram page.
“Battery blew up before the race even started. Gutted. But having seen the damage to the car and understanding what could have happened I’m just glad I’m ok!”
A statement from the FIA to e-Formula.news also seems to indicate a battery-related issue.
"Together with the single supplier for Formula E batteries (WAE) and ERT Formula E Team, we are currently investigating the cause of the issue. Further information will be shared in due course."
If it turns out to be a battery issue, this would be the second battery incident in the last couple months. Back in October during pre-season testing in Valencia, a battery fire in the garage of battery supplier WAE resulted in all testing being suspended for a couple of days.
Auto racing today is far safer than it was back in the 1950s. However, these battery issues need to be solved. Drivers don’t expect cars to spontaneously explode or catch fire. We are glad to hear that no one was injured in this latest incident. Hopefully it won’t happen again.
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