Why Formula E must take Vergne quit threat seriously


Jean-Eric Vergne's threat to withdraw from Formula E during last weekend's Berlin E-Prix marks a defining moment for the all-electric series, which is home to an increasingly disaffected horse race.

The reason behind all this is the style of racing that has become popular in the current Gen3 era, much to the dismay of the vast majority of drivers.

Last weekend's double race in Berlin was the peloton's latest series, with the opening race in particular being riddled with incidents.

While there is no doubt that peloton races are eventful and action-packed, something that fans enjoy, others find difficult to follow.

For the drivers, some went so far as to say qualifying had become irrelevant, as proven by Oliver Rowland who started both races at the back of the grid, only to quickly move through the pack and take the podium.

There was a strategic element to Roland's podiums, but the bigger concern was how aggressive the drivers would be during the peloton.

This is not because Formula E has aggressive drivers but it has to do with the fact that when individuals are not motivated, they are swallowed up by the group and often become the victim of someone else's bold move.

Initially, peloton racing was seen as something different, but now it is seen as dangerous and a style of racing that drivers do not want to participate in.

Gen3.5 concerns

Nick Cassidy won the opening race in Berlin, with Vergne and Rolland finishing second and third. Cassidy spent most of the race in 21st, before shooting to the front on the power advantage.

Despite a great recovery to take the win, all three podium finishers looked depressed and were quick to share their dissatisfaction with the type of racing that Formula E has become known for.

Vergne, the sport's only two-time champion, went further in the media pen and said Racing News 365 That if the peloton continued racing over the next two seasons, he would leave.

“Oh it might happen, it might happen,” Vergne warned when asked if drivers would leave Formula E because of the peloton.

“The good thing is that there is Gen4, but if Gen4 is the same, I will definitely stop.”

Speaking with Vergne, the DS Penske driver explained that the problem lies in the aero package of the current era of cars, which, as he put it, makes every car an “umbrella”.

To his frustration, the Gen3.5 car for the next two seasons consists of “exactly the same” levels of downforce, meaning the peloton will continue racing for at least two more campaigns.

The work needs to be done

Vergne is not the only driver to express his frustration last weekend with the current style of racing in Formula E, with Mitch Evans also complaining. Racing News 365 About the peloton races in Berlin.

“Everyone is trying to get to the front at the same time,” Evans said. “It's like the first race but a little different. But you know, as long as these peloton races are coming and happening, it's going to be chaos.”

The number of drivers disaffected with the peloton is growing race by race, although most choose not to discuss their frustrations with the media.

Vergne's threat to withdraw is significant, because it could cause terrible damage to Formula E if one of its most successful drivers in the series leaves racing style. This is why Virginie's discomfort must be taken seriously throughout the series.

Naturally, there are some drivers who wouldn't mind racing the peloton, including world champion Jake Dennis.

Unfortunately, the drivers against it outnumber drivers for it, with a major concern being the risks posed by the peloton and the potential for hand injury in a crash.

Formula E does an incredible amount of good, but drivers' concerns regarding the vehicle must be addressed ahead of Season 11, to avoid excessive frustration.

There are ways to limit the number of peloton races, such as reducing the number of laps to lower the power target or increase usable power.

Other options can be discussed with the drivers, but with his experience, Formula E should view Vergne's threat as a strong indicator that something needs to be done.



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