Jean-Eric Vergne says the Mexico City E-Prix collision in which he lost his front wing was a consequence of him misjudging the distance between the driver and the front of the car in Formula E’s new Gen3 machinery.
DS Penske driver Vergne was squabbling for points with Sacha Fenestraz but they made contact when Vergne attempted an overtake on lap 31 of 41, with his wing discarded on the exit of the Turn 5/6 double right-hander.
Vergne accepted the blame for the incident but said he had not anticipated contact with the Nissan because he was caught out by the length of the new FE car’s nose.
Though the overall length of the Gen3 car is close to 200mm shorter than its Gen2 predecessor and also has a shorter wheelbase, the driver is positioned further rearward in the car.
“To be honest, it was my fault,” Vergne told The Race.
“I did nothing wrong, it’s just that he went a bit wide, I thought I should go on the inside, and the problem is the comparison to last year, the front wing is a lot further away and it caught me by surprise.
“I didn’t think I was going to hit him, and I will know for the future that the front nose is a lot longer than last year’s car.
“It’s my fault, but I didn’t do anything on purpose.”
Vergne was still on course to score points after his DS Penske had shed its wing, and was running ninth having dispatched Fenestraz for good on the penultimate lap with a pass into the chicane – an overtake that was investigated but went without punishment as a yellow flag had been lifted and was instead replaced with a slippery surface flag.
But he lost power out of the final corner on the final lap and slumped to 12th.
Vergne said “I finished the race still with 2kWh or something like this” and felt “I could have done a few more laps, but just the battery died”.
But The Race understands there was a discrepancy in the model and actual figures, and in reality the battery derated.
Fenestraz, who had qualified eighth on just his second appearance as a Formula E driver, also dropped down the order with a dramatic loss of energy on the final lap and was classified 15th. Nissan was still investigating the cause afterwards.