New York E-Prix – Jean-Eric Vergne will be required to serve one day of community service as a result of comments made during Saturday’s race.
After securing his second championship in Sunday’s season finale Vergne was summoned to the Stewards’ office for an investigation into whether radio message made during the first race of the weekend went against Appendix B of the International Sporting Code of the FIA, the Code of Good Conduct.
The comments were made over team radio – which is freely available to the public through the Formula E app – early in the race after both DS Techeetah cars had been involved in a clash and sustained damage. Vergne suffered a left rear puncture, caused by his teammate Andre Lotterer, which meant the championship leader had to pit and drop to the back of the field. Lotterer meanwhile had a broken front wing and had fallen well out of points contention.
Vergne then asked his engineer “Tell Andre to stop … to bring out the Safety Car” to which he got no response from the team. The Stewards’ decision reported that Vergne clarified that the messages were made from a safety point of view “he knew that Car 36 had sustained damage in an incident at Turn 6 on Lap 2 had broken the front wing and had lost time as a result such that it was no longer in contention for a points finish in Round 12. He held concerns for his safety and that of other Drivers due to debris on track and made the request to his engineer that Car 36 be requested to stop for that reason only.”
The Stewards accepted Vergne’s explanation, which he admitted that “his messages could be misunderstood” and “with the benefit of hindsight, the messages were inappropriate”. However, the newly crowned champion will have to serve one day of community service within the next six months as “it is the obligation of a sportsman at this level to act in a fair and correct manner and as a role model to other drivers at all levels of motorsport.”