Monday, June 24, 2024

Jean-Éric Vergne left with a ‘lot of work to do’ after mixed Jakarta performance

Two-time Formula E Champion Jean-Éric Vergne admits he has a “lot of work to do” to remain in the fight for the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, following a complicated two races at the Jakarta E-Prix.

Vergne entered the weekend very much in the fight for the championship; however, he’s somewhat now out of touch with the leading quartet. His weekend started well on Saturday though, as he claimed a solid fifth-place finish. The Frenchman was pleased after Saturday in what was a “challenging” day for everyone, given the heat and humidity.

“Overall, a positive day. Starting on the dirty side of the track made me lose a position that I couldn’t gain back afterwards, so fifth was the best I could do today. They were very tricky conditions, the track was dirty and I had very little grip. So, it was probably one of the toughest races in terms of trying to keep the car on the track. It was challenging. But overall, it was a good number of points for the team so that’s the positive and we keep moving forward.”

Sunday unfortunately, wasn’t a good day for the DS Penske driver, as front wing damage cost him a points finish. Vergne was forced to pit for a new front wing which demoted him to the back of the field, having been in ninth at the time. He ultimately crossed the line in sixteenth, resulting in him losing considerable points to his rivals.

Following Sunday’s race, Vergne is now fifth in the Drivers’ Championship and thirty-seven points behind Pascal Wehrlein, with just five races remaining. Vergne will need a huge end to the season to pullback the points difference, as a result of his “very frustrating” end to the weekend.

“Today was a race to forget. I had my front wing broken so then frankly there wasn’t not much I could lose as I had to stop and change my front wing. From there my race was basically over. Very frustrating. We have quite a lot of work to do. Well done to Maserati for their double poles and win today. They run the same powertrain, luckily that’s a good sign that we can do better than we have been. Now, it’s on to the next one.”

“We were maybe lacking a little bit of pace” – Stoffel Vandoorne

Credit: Simon Galloway courtesy of FIA Formula E

Stoffel Vandoorne also had a better race on Saturday than he did on Sunday, with the reigning World Champion having achieved his best result of the season. Vandoorne finished fourth on Saturday ahead of Vergne, with the result having been the “maximum possible”.

“P4 today. I would say it was probably the maximum possible. Fourth and fifth for the team is good points overall. We had an OK qualifying again for both cars. This track is extremely challenging with the heat and the tyre management. There are obviously always things we can do a little bit better, but we were in a good position for the race and I feel we executed the race well.

“I had a great start and got myself into P3, but ultimately it felt like we were maybe lacking a little bit of pace to keep up the fight for a podium position. So, we just had to secure good points and make sure we bring the car home. We’ll have another go tomorrow and hope for it to be a little bit better.”

Sunday was a tricky day for the entire team, as Vandoorne fell from the top-five to the bottom of the points in the space of a couple laps, as a result of damage to his steering wheel. He luckily managed to bring his car home in ninth, to at least secure two points for the team.

“Tricky day with a tricky result. It felt like we deserved at least a podium today. It felt like that was available. We had a good start again, and gained one position. Then, we ran the attack modes. We did quite ok, even though it was hard to find the right gaps. But I think as a team we did fairly good. We got stuck behind Mitch at some point who was down on energy, but there wasn’t really a way past as I lacked some confidence in the brakes today.

“Then, I got overtaken and had a little touch, so the steering wheel was bent for the last seven or eight laps. I just had to kind of hang on and try and bring the car home. So P9, two points, but it should have been a lot more today.”