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Vergne handed suspended fine for criticising Formula E stewards

DS Penske’s Jean-Eric Vergne has been handed a suspended fine for comments he made criticising the stewards after the Formula E round in Portland last month.

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

The team was found guilty of gaining a "huge and unfair advantage", according to a stewards' bulletin, from having RFID scanning equipment in the pitlane during practice at the Formula E event in the USA.

Vergne took to social media immediately after the decision to state that the system was to “merely read the serial number of the tyres in order for us to know what tyres are being used by others. Something any team can do (and surely does) by taking photos”.

It meant that both Vergne and team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne were required to start from the pits for the Portland E-Prix before they finished 11th and 12th respectively in the race 

But after the race Vergne made further comments in the media criticising the decision, in particular with regards to the wording which was changed in a revised stewards’ bulletin that removed any reference of tyres, and simply stated that DS Penske had been able to "collect live data from all cars".

Ahead of the Rome E-Prix double-header this weekend, the FIA held a hearing into the matter and found Vergne to be in breach of Article 12.2.1c), f), k) of the International Sporting Code for “misconduct towards officials and FIA”.

Vergne was handed a €3000 fine which has been suspended until the end of the season.

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske, on the grid

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske, on the grid

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

The FIA statement read: “In the hearing the driver stated that some of the written words in the press are not said by him.

“He agreed that some comments he really said have not been respectful towards the Stewards and also towards the FIA.”

It further added, though, that Vergne “has the full respect for the work of the Stewards and the FIA” moving forward.

Vergne sits fifth in the current Formula E standings, 57 points behind championship leader Nick Cassidy with double-headers in Rome and London remaining this season.

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