Vergne was "trying to survive" Santiago race

Jean-Eric Vergne says he was "trying to survive" the Santiago E-Prix after sustaining front-left bodywork damage, which caused him to delay DS Techeetah teammate Antonio Felix da Costa.

Vergne was "trying to survive" Santiago race

The reigning Formula E champion was recovering from 11th on the grid after a subdued qualifying performance for the team.

On lap five he was battling for seventh with the Mercedes of Stoffel Vandoorne, while also under pressure from Nissan's Sebastien Buemi.

As the trio approached the Turn 10 hairpin, Vergne was caught in a pincer as he collided with Vandoorne and as Buemi accelerated ahead, which resulted in damage on the front-left wheel fairing.

On lap 28 of 40, after Vergne had climbed to third, the bodywork began catching on the tyre to leave a plume of smoke behind.

In the process, he held up da Costa, nearly forcing him into the wall on the approach to the pit entry.

When asked if he knew of his teammate's presence behind, Vergne told Motorsport.com: "I was not aware, I had enough to manage with my wheel.

"[I was] trying to survive, trying not to hit the wall. I was still hoping that the front wing would come off and if it would have come off I would still certainly [have been in] with a shot at winning the race, so I was just racing."

"I could see it moving a bit, but I thought it would be fine. It was a surprise to see it breaking at the end.

"When I saw the smoke on the tyre I was like 'shit'. It was a shame because up until that point I had a crazy pace, really good."

Vergne opted not to pit to resolve the issue but was forced in to retirement on lap 32 following a message from race director Scot Elkins – an instruction he questioned.

"I had to stop because the race director instructed us to stop, which I don't understand because sometimes some drivers are banging the wall to try and remove the front wing," Vergne added.

DS Techeetah team principal Mark Preston told Motorsport.com: "I think because [Vergne] was thinking there's a lot of precedent in the past about how long can you go with a [damaged] body part, so we did obviously discuss with Scot and in the end he said 'no, you can't keep going'.

"You can go back over races where you might perceive the different things, different decisions are made.

"[Pitting and] changing the nose and everything at that point was so late in the race that [Vergne] would have been last."

Read Also:

Da Costa finished second behind first time FE victor Maximilian Gunther, losing the lead three corners from the flag after his battery temperature ran critically high.

"I lost a lot of time behind JEV unfortunately when he had the problem. I don't know why didn't make it easier for me," Da Costa said.

shares
comments
Buemi says broken steering paddle caused Santiago penalty

Previous article

Buemi says broken steering paddle caused Santiago penalty

Next article

Evans laments "blind" early laps for losing Santiago win

Evans laments "blind" early laps for losing Santiago win
Load comments
How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success Prime

How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success

The Wolffs have carved their own paths in motorsport, leading their respective teams to success in Formula 1 and Formula E. But the two came together last month as their drivers finished first and second in the FE drivers' championship - a feat they are hugely proud of. In a rare joint interview, they reflect on a remarkable season

Formula E
Sep 21, 2021
The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21 Prime

The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was one without a narrative for much of the season, with no single car or driver able to break away from the pack. That makes choosing a top 10 especially difficult, particularly as the qualifying format meant some worthy performers were unable to enjoy their day in the sun.

Formula E
Sep 19, 2021
How Mercedes and de Vries achieved Formula E glory the hard way Prime

How Mercedes and de Vries achieved Formula E glory the hard way

When Nyck de Vries dominated the first race of what would be the most controversial and unpredictable Formula E season to date, it looked as though Mercedes was in for a cakewalk. But as the campaign wore on, the path to a title double became increasingly rocky. Neither driver or team would be assured of the crown until the closing stages of the very final race on a weekend of struggle in Berlin.

Formula E
Sep 17, 2021
The Formula E 'loan' deal that will keep di Grassi winning Prime

The Formula E 'loan' deal that will keep di Grassi winning

OPINION: The departure of Audi from Formula E meant its long-time driver Lucas di Grassi would need to find a new berth to stay on the grid. His deal at Venturi Racing will ensure the championship's first-ever race winner will remain competitive into the final year of the current Gen2 ruleset - although it may not be a long-term fit

Formula E
Sep 15, 2021
The problems laid bare by Mercedes' impending Formula E departure Prime

The problems laid bare by Mercedes' impending Formula E departure

Mercedes' planned withdrawal from Formula E at the end of the 2022 season will contribute to the big hole left by fellow automotive manufacturers Audi and BMW on their departures. Although the team may stick around under a different guise, the exit of the now-reigning teams' champion underlines FE's current issues...

Formula E
Aug 18, 2021
The F1 dilemma facing Mercedes' new world champion Prime

The F1 dilemma facing Mercedes' new world champion

After clinching the Formula E title at the Berlin finale, Nyck de Vries is a driver in demand. Although Mercedes would love to keep a reigning champion at the team, the allure of a Williams F1 drive may be too much for de Vries to ignore should a potential deal come to pass

Formula E
Aug 17, 2021
How de Vries claimed Formula E title glory as Mercedes exit bombshell looms Prime

How de Vries claimed Formula E title glory as Mercedes exit bombshell looms

As Formula E lined up to complete its seventh season at Berlin's Tempelhof Airport, all eyes were on who would be its first official FIA world champion. Despite Nyck de Vries' title lead heading into the weekend looking all but secure, the Dutchman held on - and enjoyed a good dollop of fortune - to secure a championship double for Mercedes

Formula E
Aug 16, 2021
Why Audi was right and wrong in Formula E's loophole row Prime

Why Audi was right and wrong in Formula E's loophole row

OPINION: With Audi's Formula E exit imminent, it had nothing to lose in London by attempting to vault Lucas di Grassi into the lead by pitting him under the safety car. Scorn directed at the team for putting glory before ethics should instead be pointed at a rulebook that allowed such a move in the first place.

Formula E
Jul 28, 2021