Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
Sponsored Cape Town ePrix

DS Penske in better shape heading to South Africa after Hyderabad triumph

After a complicated start to the season, the Franco-American team has found its way back to success with Jean-Eric Vergne’s victory in Hyderabad and is aiming for another triumph this weekend in South Africa.

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske

For the first E-Prix in Cape Town, three teams are to be followed closely. Tag Heuer Porsche, currently leading the championship, Avalanche Andretti, the German manufacturer's customer team, but above all DS Penske, which is for the moment the only team to have dominated Porsche-powered squads this season.

After Jake Dennis’s victory for Andretti ahead of Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein in Mexico, then Wehrlein’s two victories in Diriyah, a form of anxiety had settled in the paddock. But this was without counting on the determination and experience of Vergne, with more than 100 Formula E starts to his name.

In Hyderabad, after missing out on pole position by two hundredths of a second to the Jaguar of Mitch Evans, the DS driver produced an exemplary race in terms of both driving and energy management, with a high-tension finish. He also showed that Porsches are not infallible and that a manufacturer such as DS Automobiles, which is entering its eighth season in Formula E, could fight back with a response.

Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

Photo by: DPPI

Good pressure

When you have the only two-time champion in Formula E in Vergne, but also the reigning world champion in Stoffel Vandoorne, pressure and expectations are inevitably high.

But if DS Automobiles is one of the most successful manufacturers in Formula E (16 victories and 45 podiums in 93 races, four championship titles), it is because DS Performance, the French manufacturer's competition department, has often prepared winning cars.

So what explains the variations in performance observed at the beginning of the season? Formula E is certainly the one of the most unpredictable motorsport disciplines there is, with cut-throat qualifying where two tenths of a second can turn into 10 places on the grid.

More than in any other discipline, preparation is as crucial as the execution of the race. And when something goes wrong, you also need to be able to react in a very short time, which only experienced teams are able to do.

"With the pace of the early part of the championship, where we had E-Prix every fortnight in very remote locations, it was really difficult to upgrade the systems in our cars," DS Performance Director Eugenio Franzetti said.

"But we have several seasons under our belt, with top engineers and drivers, and we have been able to mobilise all our forces to get back into the race. We are now looking forward to confirming this good feeling in Cape Town, where the teams will all arrive on equal terms as the circuit is new."

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske

Photo by: DPPI

Will the progress made prior to India allow the DS Penske to be competitive in South Africa?

"I'm very happy with the level we've reached recently, but we need to keep working to improve because we still have potential," said Vergne, currently third in the drivers' championship.

"We can also assume that Porsche has been working hard since India, and that the battle between the two manufacturers - and why not with others - could be intense."

The Cape Town circuit, 2.94km long with 12 corners, promises a generally fast but at times slow and technical layout, with three right-angle corners.

Using streets usually open to traffic, it raises many questions, while the weather is expected to be mild. The only thing certain is there will be 22 drivers on track who will be keen to add the first South African E-Prix to their list of victories.

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article How two driver-turned-managers are tackling Formula E's challenges
Next article Vergne: "Completely unrealistic" to expect DS Penske Formula E win in Cape Town

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe