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25 Jun, 2023
1 min time to read

In a shocking turn of events during the Formula E qualifying round in Portland, Oregon, DS Penske has been fined €25,000 for secretly installing an RFID scanner at the entrance to the pit lane.

The scanner, which was discovered by the FIA stewards, had the capability to collect live data from other race cars, providing the team with an unfair advantage. As a result, both of DS Penske's drivers, Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Éric Vergne, will have to start the Portland E-Prix from the pit lane.

The FIA stewards explained their decision in an email provided to The Verge, stressing that the installation of equipment in the pit lane is strictly prohibited and that data collection in this way gives DS Penske a significant and unfair advantage over other teams. Given the seriousness of the violation, the stewards considered the penalty imposed to be adequate.

RFID chips have been used in Formula E tires since the founding of motorsports, mainly to monitor tire conditions such as temperature and pressure, and to ensure efficient tire use. However, DS Penske's attempt to collect data from the entire field raises concerns and questions about their motives.

The introduction of Hankook as the official tire manufacturer for the 2022-2023 season brought its own problems for drivers who had been used to Michelin tires for the previous eight seasons. This change likely increased pressure and increased the importance of data analysis for teams, potentially causing DS Penske to resort to unethical tactics.