Jean-Eric Vergne says Formula E has given him a new lease after controversial F1 exit
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Formula E driver Jean-Eric Vergne says the all-electric series has reshaped his view of motorsport after admitting in an exclusive interview with Express sport that leaving F1 was ‘terrible news’ at the time.
Vergne is one of the drivers on the FE grid to have competed in both categories, having driven for Toro Rosso back in 2012.
The Frenchman had finished second in, what was, the Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2011, which earned him a test with Red Bull Racing, with the promotion up to Scuderia Toro Rosso, now AlphaTauri in 2012.
Over the next three seasons, Vergne took part in 58 grand prix, securing a best finish of sixth place.
However, his departure from F1 was somewhat controversial, after being replaced by Max Verstappen at the team, despite out-scoring his team-mate Daniil Kvyat at the time back in 2014.
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Since then, Vergne has turned his attention to electric single-seater racing in FE, winning back to back titles in the championship.
And speaking to Express Sport in Monaco ahead of the Monaco Eprix, Vergne reflected on his time in F1, and how FE has reshaped his perspective.
He said: “Oh, I mean, I think it’s fair to say that Formula E has given me a caveat that I did not have when I was in Formula One.
“In Formula 1, I was just, you know, one of the drivers, not one of the main guys, you know.
“Coming into Formula E, I become this guy, you know, one of the main guys. And that changes quite a lot of things, you know, in your personal life.
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“And when I left, when it was you know, I thought it was terrible news.
“And when I look back, actually, maybe it was the best thing that could have happened to me, you know.”
Vergne, who owns a stake in the Formula E team DS Techeetah, are now in their seventh year in Formula E, with five titles, three drivers and two teams, making them the most successful team on the grid.
They’ve won every title in FE’s Generation 2 evolutions, and Vergne says keeping up the momentum with the team will take a lot of work in season 7, with Mercedes EQ Formula E team and Jaguar Racing being a real force this season.
“You know, also with your sponsors, with your team, with the championship, you know, it feels different.
“I don’t know. The team is obviously working very hard to stay on top, but, you know, the other guys are catching up,” Vergne explained.
“I don’t know where I would be in the future. Obviously, my wish is to stay in, you know, to stay in the team.
“We’ve won so many champions, I mean, so many championship teams and drivers together that to me, it makes sense to stay.
“You know, my contract wins out at the end of the year and we’ll see where we’ll be next to next season. But the plan is to stay there for the moment.”
Monaco EPrix gets underway in the Principality at 3pm for round seven with Nyck de Vries leading the Driver’s standings for Mercedes EQ.
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