Jean-Eric Vergne believes that he is still in prime contention to challenge for a unique hat-trick of Formula E titles despite not making it off the starting grid at yesterday’s second New York City E-Prix.
In the first race of the weekend, Vergne finished second behind race winner Maximilian Guenther, who overtook him when Vergne made a move on long-time race leader Nick Cassidy much to the Frenchman’s disappointment.
However, on the second day of the double-header, the DS Techeetah driver suffered an initial electrical issue on his qualifying lap meaning he was forced to start race two from the back of the grid. It is not yet clear whether this was linked to his inability to start the race.
Despite the disappointment, Vergne believes he has emerged from New York in a better position than when he arrived as he has moved to within 13 points of leader and former team-mate Sam Bird after starting the weekend 24 behind then leader Edoardo Mortara.
“This weekend was actually quite good despite the issues today,” he told The Race.
“I went from 24 points to 13 points from the leader, and I will take that as a positive.
“Now we focus on London, it’s a track that should suit us very well so the confidence is still here in the team and I feel OK even after the problems today.”
Vergne detailed some ruefulness, however, saying that “group one (qualifying) for once was okay and we were very quick in practice, so it was not nice to sit it out.”
“OK, it is another shot at winning a race that went away but honestly the feeling in the team is good with a nice team within a team with my new engineer (Thibault Arnal).”
“We are a strong unit and I know we can really challenge this season for both titles still despite these setbacks.”
The DS Techeetah team is still investigating the issues in both qualifying and the start of the race to see if they are linked.
The Race understands that Vergne’s battery was damaged in the grid incident which saw Vergne’s inert car cause the only Safety Car period of the weekend.
“At the start, something went and I could not restart the car and something was clearly broken, it was clear,” said Vergne.
“The performance is getting to be in a very good way but we still have to figure out some things to try but the championship will be played out in the last race for sure.
“The margins are so fine that even things like today do not destroy your season. But at the same time, we cannot afford any more now with just four races left on the season.”