New York FE: Jean-Eric Vergne expected early title despite penalty

Jean-Eric Vergne says he knew he would clinch the 2017/18 Formula E title in the opening New York ePrix race despite starting at the rear of the field

New York FE: Jean-Eric Vergne expected early title despite penalty

Vergne was forced to start from 18th on the grid after he and his Techeetah team-mate Andre Lotterer were excluded from qualifying for exceeding the maximum allowed energy levels in that session.

The pair charged back through the field with Vergne finishing fifth, four places ahead of title rival Sam Bird to seal his first championship since British Formula 3 in 2010.

When asked by Autosport if he thought he'd be the champion when he sat at the back of the grid, Vergne replied: "Yeah".

"Things happen for a reason," he continued.

"I believe starting nearly last in Zurich helped me understand a few more things about Formula E, things that I put in action in the race.

"People at the beginning were probably thinking I was not going to make it, because I was last after five laps in the race, but the truth is I had like four or five more percent than anybody else in front of me.

"Then I used that energy to come back through the field."

Vergne did not launch from the grid and used the energy-saving tactic of rolling away from the line and letting Lotterer pass him.

But the former Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver was still unsure if he had sealed the title when he crossed the finish-line, even after he passed Bird in the race.

Vergne only had his title confirmed when he saw Lotterer pull alongside to congratulate him on the cooldown lap.

"I was staying calm [during the race], Vergne said. "Because I had no idea where I was standing in the championship ranking.

"Even after the chequered flag I had no idea. So, I remained calm and just did what I had to do.

"I saw Andre passing next to me [waving] - so I guess he had seen it on TV. But I didn't want to look at the TV and then Dario Franchitti [FE commentator] came on the radio asking me how it feels to be champion."

Vergne described his title as "quite clearly by far" the greatest achievement of his career, but said it was "completely different" from his F1 career.

"I guess winning a world title in F1 is greater than this - probably," he added.

"It's not up to me to judge. But finishing eighth or sometimes sixth or whatever in F1 was not something that was really exciting me.

"I guess that was my biggest problem because I didn't see further, by being [an F1] reserve and having a good mentality, which I didn't, could give me a better seat.

"My position in F1 to what it is now is no comparison. It's a different world for me.

"I'm not the same guy either. Not one percent of what I was in F1 I am here today."

shares
comments
Formula E New York: Audi 'miscommunication' caused team order row

Previous article

Formula E New York: Audi 'miscommunication' caused team order row

Next article

New York FE: Renault's Sebastien Buemi takes back-to-back poles

New York FE: Renault's Sebastien Buemi takes back-to-back poles
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula E
Drivers Jean-Eric Vergne
How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome Plus

How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome

Another Formula E double-header, another double dose of frantic action. While the form guide remains unpredictable following fightback wins for Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne in Rome, the speed and consistency of Mercedes – both on and off the track – could have its rivals worried for what is to follow

Formula E
Apr 12, 2021
What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future Plus

What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future

Formula E's Gen3 era grid continues to take shape, after Nissan opted to commit to the series for another four years. Nissan's global chief operating officer explains why it has thrown its lot in with FE while other high-profile marques have decided to call it quits

Formula E
Mar 24, 2021
Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start Plus

Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start

With the new Formula E season belatedly getting underway in Saudi Arabia, the championship appeared to try to make up for lost time with an overspill of action and controversy on and off the track. While some talking points could have serious repercussions, it was an explosive opener for many reasons

Formula E
Mar 1, 2021
How Andretti is planning for life after BMW Plus

How Andretti is planning for life after BMW

Michael Andretti's team is a Formula E ever-present and that's not about to change despite BMW's forthcoming exit. But, with both its drivers contracted to the German giant and McLaren weighing up a possible entry, some key decisions lie ahead

Formula E
Feb 26, 2021
The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021 Plus

The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021

The delayed 2020-21 Formula E season gets underway this week with a double-header in Saudi Arabia. The testing times were too close to call a favourite, but that's not the only area of interest to follow as the championship enters a crucial year

Formula E
Feb 25, 2021
Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test Plus

Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test

As off-track politics threatens to overshadow events on it, the upcoming Formula E season is perhaps its most important since the championship's inception. And that's a shame, given that the focus should be on what promises to be its closest title fight yet

Formula E
Feb 24, 2021
How Mercedes and Porsche can avoid a difficult second FE album Plus

How Mercedes and Porsche can avoid a difficult second FE album

DS Techeetah remains FE's benchmark outfit, but it can expect a stiff challenge this year from two German automotive giants in their second seasons as full manufacturer entries. Here's how Mercedes and Porsche are doubling down to bridge the gap

Formula E
Feb 17, 2021
The magnificent seven Brits fighting for FE bragging rights Plus

The magnificent seven Brits fighting for FE bragging rights

A record seven British drivers will contest Formula E this season, including two squads with all-British lineups. But before they can consider challenging DS Techeetah for the crown, each must lead their teams' recovery to the top

Formula E
Feb 15, 2021