Monday, May 27, 2024

DS Penske Suffer Consequences of Qualifying Disqualification

DS Penske endured a disastrous race last Saturday at the Portland E-Prix, all through their own doing.

Both Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Éric Vergne were disqualified from qualifying and forced to start from the pit-lane, after it was discovered ahead of Free Practice 2 that the team were using illegal RFID scanners in the pits. DS Penske were using the scanners to see what set of tyres their rivals were on, something which breached several Articles.

It was unfortunate for both drivers as the team did demonstrate good pace, as Vergne made it into the duels. Had he not been disqualified from the session then he would’ve started the race from sixth, rather than the points. Due to the peloton-style of racing though, Vergne was able to catch the pack, with him having progressed to fourth mid-race.

However, he got “pushed off” onto the grass whilst amongst the frontrunners, which caused his car to overheat. As a result he struggled to manage his energy, which led to him finishing in twelfth. His slim title chances are now all but over, following what Vergne labelled as an “unfortunate” day.

“The race was going very well up to the point I came to 4th, then I got pushed off in the middle of the race, in the grass, and the radiators were full of it and overheating, the car was not generating the same as the others, that costs me a lot of energy and eventually a strong finish.

“That is unfortunate, I was feeling confident in the car today after the strong practice and qualification sessions, I keep my head down, keep working with the team, a lot of potential so we will definitely keep pushing.”

“We should have come away with points” – Stoffel Vandoorne

The reigning Formula E World Champion would’ve started from tenth had it not been for the disqualification; however, even he was able to catch the pack. Starting from the pits seemed to impact Vandoorne more than Vergne though, as the Belgian finished the race in thirteenth.

Vandoorne admitted that it was “tough” to take what happened in Portland, with the driver recognising that the team must “move forward”.

“Tough one to take here in Portland. We got disqualified from qualifying after a team infringement. The Race was tough and this was one we should have come away with points. We’ll reset with the team and go again at the next event! We need to move forward, we will put all our energy into preparing for the next races in Rome.”

Credit: Simon Galloway courtesy of FIA Formula E