Nico Mueller has described his frightening crash that triggered a long safety car period in the Portland Formula E race as “pretty terrifying”.
The Abt Cupra driver lost control of his car after the front wing on his Mahindra folded beneath the wheels, meaning he had no steering or braking capability.
Muller skated off left as the field headed through the long Turn 9 kink and hit the retaining wall at high speed before bouncing back across the track into the barrier on the opposite side.
BIG CRASH! 😬
Nico Mueller struggles with his brakes and slides straight off into the barriers.
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) June 25, 2023
He radioed his engineer Felix Fechner as the car came to rest to say “the thing just went straight on, big crash”, then alighted from his car immediately – as he told The Race that he was “not in a nice position there and I saw no immediate safety car sign”.
Formula E reported that the impact, which did ultimately lead to the deployment of the safety car, recorded 27G on the telemetry.
Recalling the details of the accident, which occurred as a consequence of earlier contact that damaged his wing, Mueller said: “[It] felt like there were still some parts hanging and scrubbing on the wheel. I heard it and felt it, and as I went down the straight a few laps later, it looks like a part got loose and I drove over my own part of the wing, the front wheels lifted up and [I went] straight on.
“It was pretty terrifying to be honest.
“I just headed straight on because the front wheels were lifted up in the air. But then after I hit the wall, I couldn’t stop the car because apparently it went into a sort of safety mode after the impact and there I had no brakes anymore. That’s why I kind of crawled back onto the track and stopped in a pretty dangerous position.
“That’s what scared me a little bit.”
Abt believes the chassis will have to be changed ahead of the next races in Rome in mid-July.
Mueller reckoned that without his incidents he could have joined team-mate Robin Frijns in the top 10, such was the drama of the high-energy saving peloton race.
Frijns ran on the cusp of the points-scoring positions for the majority of the race and crossed the line in 11th, but was promoted to 10th following a post-race penalty for Sam Bird for contact with Maserati driver Maximilian Guenther.
“I don’t see a reason why I could not have scored some points,” said Mueller.
“In these races if you position yourself well and race smart you can definitely get away with a few points.
“When there are opportunities like that you want to make the most of it. The thing is when it bunches up and no one wants to lead and you’re in the mid pack, suddenly a car in front of you hits another one and pretty much stops. It’s very hard to avoid contact and that’s what happened to me.
“It’s unfortunate, but what’s more frustrating is the big consequences afterwards; the car is completely wrecked. There’s lots of work for the team now to get it ready for Rome.”