17 Nov 19

DS Techeetah: Vergne faces his toughest challenge as champions defend their titles

DS Techeetah has a target on their back this season after a dominant 2018/19 campaign that saw the Chinese squad lift the Teams’ Championship and star driver Jean-Eric Vergne claim his second Formula E crown.

The manufacturing giants are relatively new to the all-electric series, having only made their debut in 2016/17, but a respectable fifth-place finish in the overall standings laid a solid foundation for their sustained assault on the established order. Vergne picked up five podium finishes in the team’s first campaign – including the squad’s maiden victory in Montreal – and Techeetah has never looked back.

The signing of Andre Lotterer in 2017/18 was a massive boost for both Vergne and the team as the two drivers struck up a firm friendship as well as a formidable on-track partnership, going on to secure eight podiums between them. Techeetah finished the season second in the Teams’ standings while Vergne’s four wins helped the Frenchman claim his first Formula E crown.

JEV proved this wasn’t just a fluke with another stellar campaign in 2018/19 as three more victories saw him become the all-electric series’ first-ever multiple title-winner. And the 29-year-old is not done yet, claiming he “still wants more” and is aiming to become the “Lewis Hamilton of Formula E” by overseeing an extended period of dominance in the sport.

It hasn’t been an easy road for Vergne, who was controversially dropped by Toro Rosso before enduring a couple of tough years with Andretti Autosport and DS Virgin Racing. The Techeetah star’s mental strength has been tested to the limit by the challenges of former champions Sebastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi in recent years, but Vergne has shown no signs of cracking yet so sparks will fly again when the trio rekindle their battle on track this season.

The departure of Lotterer to Porsche means Vergne has lost his greatest ally, with the German veteran replaced by the highly-rated Antonio Felix da Costa. Da Costa is vastly experienced and a proven race-winner, having stood on the top step driving for both Amlin Aguri and BMW i Andretti Motorsport. However, his clash with Alexander Sims when battling for the lead in Marrakesh last season shows he is not afraid to ruffle a team-mate’s feathers, so Techeetah may have a difficult choice to make If the Portuguese ace refuses to bow down to the champion.

DS Techeetah Formula E Team

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