Jean-Eric Vergne switched from the departing Techeetah team to Penske for season nine and has enjoyed life under new boss Jay Penske.
The Ds engineers followed Vergne, as the French car manufacturer joined forces with Penske to create their season nine powertrain. Therefore there are still a number of familiar faces around the garage for Vergne. But the double Formula E champion has been impressed with how the team has been structured under owner Jay Penske.
“The technical part of the team is the same,” said Jean-Eric Vergne. “I see the same faces. We have two mechanics coming from Jaguar. And of course, there is a new boss. Techeetah had a different leadership in the past. Jay Penske is at every race, he is very motivated and has been very fair with us when we have not performed well. It’s not easy to react when we don’t do well and I was surprised by his attitude”.
It has been a long time since the Silverstone-based squad tasted victory before Vergne’s win in Hyderabad. Their last win was in season two (Jerome D’Ambrosio in Mexico).
When asked by Formula E Zone how was his relationship with Jay Penske before the race in Hydebarad and how is it now after the victory, JEV said that “It didn’t change because I won a race. He is a very focused person, I’m sure that one win will not take away his focus and his motivation to win the championship, far from it. He surprised me in a very positive way. After the bad races that we had, he kept his calm and had the right words for the team.
“After the race, he kept the pressure on all of us to keep running and improving the car. and that’s what I expect to hear from the boss. I’m quite happy with how everything is at the moment, we have a very good relationship and I believe we’re going to keep building it in the future as we get to know each other, as the trust increases.
Despite the good atmosphere within the team, Vergne knows that there is still a lot to do: “The performance is not good in the qualifying. It is important to understand what has been good, but I don’t have all the information yet.
“We need to understand how we can fix our pace in qualifying. On a scale of 1-100, the first races were 20 and this one was 60. You can’t understand everything in FE, but we work hard to get that.”
The victory in Hyderabad
The final laps in the Indian city were not easy for Vergne. He revealed that he had problems with the brakes and the energy regeneration The car did not regenerate enough at some points of the track which caused him to be lower on energy compared to the others.
“What worried me was the inconsistency of the brakes, I had to brake early at many moments to avoid going straight. I wasn’t that stressed, I knew I was doing well. If anything would make me lose the race, it would be to go straight at some point.”
Vergne also said that he likes the challenge of new tracks. “I’m going to Cape Town and Sao Paulo with the same mentality as in India. “I was in Cape Town once and I have good memories. It’s a long flight, but it’s worth it. It’s a new track, but the approach is the same: work on the simulator, see where to accelerate and brake…”
The French driver recalled that his first race in the South African country was against a Cheetah with the Gen1. “A different race,” he said.
He is also excited to return to Brazil, where he raced in the Formula 1 era. “I have good Brazilian friends, Formula E has Brazilian drivers. I haven’t seen the track yet, it will be a great race. The Brazilian fans are very passionate.”