Formula E

Vergne & Vandoorne criticise team after "disappointing" Sao Paulo E-Prix: "Strategic decisions in the race not the best"

Svenja König

Svenja König

Jean-Eric-Vergne-in-heat-Sao-Paulo

After a phenomenal qualifying session, DS Penske only managed two top 8 results at the Sao Paulo E-Prix. The Formula E team left Brazil accordingly disillusioned. Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne believe that the main mistakes were made in terms of strategy, as the team lacked the pace to keep up with the front runners in the first half of the race as well as the position to put the pressure on again in the second half.

Two drivers in the points, ten points for the championship fight. And Jean-Eric Vergne is one of only four drivers to have scored points in every race of the 2024 season so far. At first glance, not a bad result for DS Penske. However, it was also the worst result for the team so far in season 10. Jay Penske's team had definitely hoped for more, especially from grid positions 2 and 3. So what had happened?

"We had a really good qualifying session, so we were second and third on the grid. But in the end, we are honestly disappointed," summarised Vergne. "Maybe our strategic decisions in the race weren't the best."

At the start, everything had gone well. Both DS drivers got through the first corners unscathed. But on the second lap already, it became clear that Vergne and Vandoorne were struggling to keep up with the Porsche and Jaguar. As a result, Antonio Felix da Costa and Mitch Evans passed them both without any major difficulties.

Franzetti: "Couldn't keep up with the competition"

"After an excellent performance in qualifying and free practice, we were unable to keep up with the competition in the race," explained Eugenio Franzetti, Head of DS Performance. Around the first safety car phase, Sam Bird and Jake Dennis also worked their way past the two DS cars. The intermediate standings after 14 laps: Vergne and Vandoorne in 6th and 7th place - even with slightly less energy in the battery than the competitors around them!

Vandoorne: "Didn't have the right track position"

While positions 1 to 4 at the front were regularly swapped in order to maximise the slipstream effect, the rear top 10 positions were fiercely contested. Vergne and Vandoorne were involved in duels with Nick Cassidy and Oliver Rowland, among others, and gradually lost touch with the front runners. Similarly to Porsche, DS Penske let the competition go too early.

"We have to analyse the race strategy in particular and learn from it," says Vandoorne. "We could have done better, especially in terms of track position. That's why, after a great qualifying session, we're obviously disappointed not to have scored more points in the end."

The Penske team lost momentum in the final phase. Even the Porsche cars, which were struggling with temperature problems, were not put under pressure by Vergne and Vandoorne - although it would have seemed possible from the overall package of the car, as Maximilian Günther in the sister car of Maserati impressively proved.

Thus, DS Penske left Brazil somewhat disappointed with a list of homework to do, despite a good pace. The team now has just under two weeks to reflect and reposition itself for Tokyo. Vergne is in fourth place in the drivers' championship - level on points with Mitch Evans in third place. DS Penske is third overall in the teams' standings. Stellantis is fourth in the new manufacturers' championship.

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