Formula E

Vergne – Inconsistent penalty “very hard to take”

Reigning ABB FIA Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne says his drive-through penalty in Rome was “very hard to take”.

The DS Techeetah driver was penalised for passing BMW Andretti’s Antonio Felix da Costa under full course yellow conditions, but was forced to take avoiding action as the Geox Dragon car of Max Guenther slowed down more quickly in front of them.

Vergne would have taken the lead in the drivers’ championship with his seventh-place finish, but his time-converted drive-through left him 14th.

“Max slowed down massively. It was either I hit Antonio or I overtake him,” he told FormulaSpy.

“So I have no problem if they tell me I have to give back the position, I would have done that but no one told me. I would never do something that cost me so many points.

Vergne was vocal after the Mexico City race in which he lost two places from drivers cutting a chicane in a similar situation.

“You have the first countdown from the race director [for a full course yellow], then we get a second countdown and that’s where I got overtaken in Mexico by three drivers.

“I went to ask the stewards, they say it’s fine so they didn’t get a penalty. Then I went to see the race director to have a discussion with him. He was very open about it, he didn’t have anything to tell me. I guess nothing was wrong. Therefore I understood it was fine to do that, so that’s what I did today.

“After I did that I went straight on the radio asking if it was fine, the team said it was. When I explained in the steward rooms what happened in Mexico, the stewards say ‘I don’t know, I was not in Mexico’ and it’s something that’s very hard to take as a driver.

“You give so much out there on track, to have no consistency is a hard feeling.”

Inconsistent penalties has been a common complaint amongst drivers during the 2018/19 season, with levels of contact to make an overtake happen increasing since the introduction of the Gen2 car.

“This season is going nuts. I was hit twice in Mexico, no penalties. Some other drivers do less than what happened to me and get a massive, harsh penalty. I cannot understand the decisions.”

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Chris Stevens

Chris is a member of the Autosport Academy and has been writing about motorsport professionally since 2015. He has been one of the top Formula E journalists since he went to Donington Park for pre-season testing a week after picking up his A-Level results.

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