When Jean-Eric Vergne rocked up for the 2019 edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours, he was on the brink of becoming Formula E's first double champion and guiding the DS Techeetah squad to its maiden teams' title. But there was a looming issue: Andre Lotterer, his electric team-mate of the past two seasons, was about to move to new arrival Porsche and leave a vacancy.
That led Vergne to sit down for a coffee in La Sarthe with his good friend Antonio Felix da Costa to court his services and tempt him away from BMW Andretti. The Portuguese had been associated with the German manufacturer since a 2014 debut in the DTM - his consolation prize from Helmut Marko for missing out on the Toro Rosso Formula 1 seat to GP3 champion Daniil Kvyat.
Vergne has been more than just a driver for DS Techeetah since joining in 2016, when the Team Aguri squad was bought and renamed by Chinese sports management firm SECA. He was entrusted to tempt first Lotterer and then da Costa to join the team; it was his nest and one that he had taken to the top of the FE tree.