Despite strong pace, Alexander Sims faced an early end to the Sanya E-Prix in China on 23 March 2019. He and André Lotterer were battling for fifth position when Alexander was squeezed into the wall at Turn 5, forcing him to retire from Round 6 of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
During the weekend’s qualifying session, Alexander was showing promising pace in his #27 BMW iFE.18 and set the third-fastest time; only 0.287 seconds off the fastest time and just 0.006 seconds adrift of his BMW i Andretti Motorsport team-mate, António Félix da Costa. This put him through to the top-six Super Pole shootout session. However, as he was about to head onto the track for the grid decider, a gear selection issue arose, meaning he had to withdraw from the session. A crash and penalty for Sébastien Buemi meant Alexander would start fifth on the grid.
In the race, Alexander was strong off the line, maintaining fifth place. After an early full-course yellow, Alexander and the top-five front-runners started to edge away from the field with the order remaining unchanged for the first 20 minutes. As the pack then began to jostle for position, Alexander put the pressure on Daniel Abt for fourth place. Behind in sixth, Andre Lotterer caught up and attempted to pass Alexander who defended well. As the duo fought for position, they went side-by-side into the fast, right-hand Turn 5 but without enough room to race, Alexander was squeezed into the wall. He made contact, causing damage that brought his car to a standstill further down the track and a premature end to Alexander’s race.
“Unfortunately, it feels like we’re on repeat at the moment, having missed out on promising opportunities for another race,” said Alexander. “Our pace was good; qualifying went really well and I was happy with the car and how it was performing. António is a superb benchmark for me, so I was delighted to be able to keep up with his lap times.
“But the race didn’t go my way. I defended my line against André [Lotterer], but I just had nowhere to go coming out of Turn 5. I feel he didn’t leave enough space and at some point the gap between me and André got so small I hit the wall. It’s frustrating, particularly as I feel we could have been in the points and the team’s efforts and pace went unrewarded. It seems to be an awful run of bad luck, but I’ve got to keep my chin up, get out there and try again.”
The next round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship takes place in Rome, Italy, on 13 April 2019.