19 Jul 19
12 Jul 19
Just short of nine months and 11 races have passed since DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne declared the biggest threat to claiming his second championship title was – quite simply - himself.
"Everybody is looking competitive,” said the Frenchman back at pre-season testing in October 2018.
“I expect this season to be very tough and tight. I think everyone is a threat but mainly myself.
“If I make a mistake, it doesn't matter what the others do - I won't score points. We need to make no mistakes…that's my target.”
Fresh from clinching his first Championship title in Formula E, Vergne had reason to be sceptical. Retaining the title for a second consecutive season is a daunting prospect, especially with new teams, new drivers and the biggest car development in the history of the series to contend with. In short, the Frenchman has arguably faced more pressure this season than in the entirety of his career. After all, the title is his to lose.
Since joining Formula E in 2014, Vergne’s impact on the series has not gone unnoticed. In five seasons and 54 races, the Frenchman has racked up eight wins and 20 podiums - only Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi have more.
On top of that, he’s the second highest Pole scorer (behind Buemi) and the third highest points earner, with 571 to his name. Again, only seasoned former champs di Grassi and Buemi have topped his total.
While it took the champ 31 races to get his first win, he secured pole position on his Formula E debut, in the third race of the all-electric series on December 13, 2014 at Punta del Este with Andretti. Finishing the inaugural season in seventh, Vergne went on to finish ninth in his second campaign and fifth in his third before clinching the title last year, the fourth season of Formula E.
Now, as we count down the hours to Vergne’s two-day reckoning in New York City, all eyes are on the Frenchman as he looks to make history with the first back-to-back Championship title win in the series.
Reflecting on last year’s finale, Vergne landed in the Big Apple with a 23-point lead on Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird. The DS Techeetah frontman ended up winning the championship by 54 points after the two NYC races (from Lucas di Grassi, who had overtaken Bird to finish the campaign in the runner-up position).
Once again, Vergne tops the standings this time around, with a 32 point advantage – only Lucas di Grassi in second place has a realistic chance of destroying the reigning champ’s consecutive title dreams.
Well, maybe it's not just di Grassi. After all, in Vergne’s own words, “the biggest threat is myself.”