World Rallycross outfit Special ONE Racing has hit out at the FIA and the series for what it calls the “lackluster handling of the aftermath” of the fire which destroyed both of the team’s electric Lancia Delta Evo-e race cars in addition to its equipment at Lydden Hill in July.
As well as ruling the team out for the remainder of the year, the fire — which occurred in the team’s paddock area before that weekend’s on-track action had begun — also put the entire RX1e championship on hold.
The Lydden Hill round, and subsequent events in Belgium and Germany, were called off, with the round in South Africa and the upcoming season finale in Hong Kong being contested with single-make cars from the RX2e support category.
Special ONE Racing pointed out the cause of the fire in a statement issued Thursday, saying, “Various testimonies, surveillance camera footage, telemetry data, and expertise based on samples taken from the debris have definitively established the origin of the blaze: a thermal runaway of the lithium-ion battery onboard the car.
“Kreisel Electric, the supplier of this equipment, which is common to all RX1e category models, could not guarantee that such an incident would not recur in the future. Therefore, the FIA has decided not to allow these cars to compete until further notice,” the statement continued. “If this situation persists, it will have the consequence of jeopardizing the future of the discipline, as it undermines the well-being of all its stakeholders.”
While the FIA and World RX began an investigation into the cause of the fire in its immediate aftermath, there hasn’t been a significant update since it began.
“Today, the Special ONE Racing team regrets that no official analysis report or results have been provided by the FIA or Kreisel Electric,” the team said. “To date, no one seems willing to take responsibility for the fire that Special ONE Racing experienced three months ago. This lack of respect does not allow the team or its partners to move forward.”
The team was also invited to contest the Hong Kong finale on November 11-12, using a pair of Zeroid X1 RX2e cars provided by the series, but declined as a result of the response to the incident.
“In this context, the promoter’s invitation to take part in the Hong-Kong rallycross on 11 and 12 November with RX2e cars has been declined,” the team said.
Spcial ONE hasn’t ruled out building a new pair of Delta Evo-e cars and returning to the series. Driver Sebastien Loeb previously told media including RACER, “I don’t think so,” when asked if the team could return to World RX, adding, “First we need to see how this championship will carry on, then we will be able to take a decision.”
Now the team has opened the door to a comeback, suggesting that it could compete again once it knows the championship’s next steps in response to the fire.
“As the 2024 season approaches, the Special ONE Racing hopes to receive answers regarding the causes of past events and seeks assurances to enable the team to resume the championship next year with even more exceptional Delta Evo-e RX cars,” it said.
Special ONE Racing’s response comes two days after Formula E testing was paused due to another, albeit unrelated, battery fire. Formula E’s battery comes from a different supplier — WAE — and that incident occurred when the battery in question had been removed from the car it had been in for inspection following an on-track issue earlier in the day.