Vergne: New DS FE powertrain won't "change our lives dramatically"

Jean-Eric Vergne says DS Techeetah's new Formula E powertrain won't bring a massive step in performance, despite the extra development time afforded by the new homologation cycle

Vergne: New DS FE powertrain won't "change our lives dramatically"

DS, Nissan and Dragon/Penske Autosport have all chosen the 5 April slot to homologate their new powertrains, which are due to last until the end of the Gen2 era in 2021-22.

While this means they would have to compete in next week's Diriyah E-Prix with the same hardware as last season's, it also gives them more time to develop their powertrains than their competitors that have already completed the homologation process ahead of the new season.

DS Techeetah swept both titles during the last two Formula E seasons and also looked strong in the official Valencia test last December, despite running its old powertrain.

But two-time FE champion Vergne doesn't expect DS Techeetah to make major gains when its new powertrain officially makes its debut in the Rome E-Prix in April, saying it "won't change our lives dramatically".

"As always, the powertrain we introduce is an improvement," Vergne said. "But I think we have to be careful there.

"The improvement we're talking about is barely seeable in lap times. It's more about efficiency in the race.

"Everything has been improved a little bit. But it's not like we are having a new powertrain in Rome and are going to gain three, four or five tenths. It doesn't work like this.

"In the same way that we're going to arrive in Riyadh with our old powertrain, it's not like we're going to be massively off the pace compared to the teams that have their new powertrain. I don't believe that.

"It's going to be nice to have the new powertrain but I don't expect it to change our lives dramatically."

Vergne's thoughts were echoed by Oliver Rowland, whose Nissan team finished second to DS Techeetah last season with one victory and four further podium positions.

But, while Rowland admits that there are minimal gains to be made on the powertrain side, he believes there is scope for improvement on those areas of the chassis that are free for development, including the suspension.

"The gains that we find these days are very small," Rowland told Autosport. "We already know that we are at a pretty high level of efficiency.

"So of course, we've had a little bit more time, but we are also pretty rushed to get the power unit ready for last year because of the season 5 regulation change [that banned the twin-motor system used by Nissan].

"We kind of rushed it last year, had a bit more time this year. I expect to be slightly better but I don't expect a huge massive change.

"Of course, on the chassis side and the suspension side and all the other bits there is a room for improvement still and they are probably the areas we feel like we've made some small gains in but still yet to be clarified I think."

shares
comments
Diriyah E-Prix gets layout change before 2020-21 FE season opener

Previous article

Diriyah E-Prix gets layout change before 2020-21 FE season opener

Next article

Saudi Arabia FE race could move to new location with several options available

Saudi Arabia FE race could move to new location with several options available
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula E
Drivers Jean-Eric Vergne
Author Rachit Thukral
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
How XE's star power puts Formula E under pressure Plus

How XE's star power puts Formula E under pressure

With the addition of Jenson Button's own team to join the involvement of fellow Formula 1 champions Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in Extreme E's ranks, the new electric SUV series is brimming with star power to enable it to deliver on its promise

Formula E
Jan 29, 2021
What Formula E must do for McLaren to act on its attraction Plus

What Formula E must do for McLaren to act on its attraction

News that McLaren is formally considering a Formula E move is a much-needed boost for a series that took some punches at the end of 2020. But to allay any doubts that Zak Brown may have, FE must take action on its biggest potential stumbling block

Formula E
Jan 11, 2021