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Formula E

Vergne set for DS Techeetah stay, but says Formula E must change

by Sam Smith
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Double Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne is set to continue with the DS Techeetah squad for a sixth season in 2022 as the team aims to complete a new ownership transaction in the coming weeks.

The Techeetah element of the squad, which is owned by Chinese sports marketing company SECA, has been looking to sell a stake of the team to partners since 2019 when it won a second title with Vergne.

As a result Vergne and his team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa have faced an uncertain immediate future in recent months but The Race understands that they have been given assurances that the potential new majority stake-owners will confirm both drivers when the deal is completed.

While da Costa is believed to have a deal already in place for 2022 with the existing DS Techeetah axis, Vergne is now effectively out of contract.

But a new deal has been offered and is likely to be confirmed in the coming weeks, ensuring an unchanged line-up going in to 2022.

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“I think it’s fair to say that when the new people arrived on the team picture, it was at a very pivotal moment for me where I was like ‘I’ll wait and see if this team is still here or if something good will happen’,” Vergne told the Race in Berlin.

“But you can’t have a good career guessing on what will happen or what will not happen. So we maybe needed to make the choice to go somewhere else.

“It [the new ownership] has come at the right time and there is a right attitude there, I think that makes me that makes me say, ‘yeah, I’ll be there next year’.”

Vergne will begin development testing of the new Peugeot Hypercar later this year in readiness for the first year of its competitive return to endurance racing in 2022.

The double FE champion suffered a difficult weekend in Berlin and fell to 10th in the drivers’ standings, his worst-ever final classification in his seven-season Formula E career.

His only highlights over the course of the season came in Rome, when he took a debut win for the DS E-TENSE FE21 car, and then a runner-up finish behind Max Guenther’s BMW in the first New York City E-Prix last month.

Jean-Eric Vergne DS Techeetah Rome E-Prix Formula E

Vergne admitted that he, like many drivers in Formula E this season, had not enjoyed the racing and the topsy turvy grids often created by to the unique qualifying format.

At some circuits this has contributed to incidents that have compromised many of the quicker runners.

“Certain things need to happen in Formula E for the championship to still be interesting,” said Vergne.

“I think the way it’s been going lately, if it keeps going like that I’m not sure I’d want to race that honestly.

“When you see the kind of race we had in London, it’s not a world championship, I’m sorry to say.”

He especially criticised the protocols on damaged bodywork, bringing up a contentious order from race direction he’d received in the 2020 Santiago E-Prix.

“When you have so many cars crashing into each other, you have half the grid finishing the race with no front wing, I don’t call that a world championship,” he said.

“They are very strict on the penalties, remember Santiago when I had to pit because I had some damage, a small piece missing?

“Now, it’s carnage. The car is so strong, it just becomes unraceable. I don’t enjoy this kind of racing but next year this will change, it has to.”

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