Formula E

Techeetah slam qualifying system after pointless Santiago ePrix

2 Mins read
Credit: Formula E

DS Techeetah have criticised the Formula E qualifying system after the team failed to score points for the first time since the 2017 Paris ePrix.

Andre Lotterer and Jean-Eric Vergne went out in the first group in qualifying due to them being in the top five places in the driver’s championship before the Santiago round.

And despite finishing first and second in that group, Vergne started down in twelfth and Lotterer fourteenth as drivers in later groups were able to benefit from the track conditions improving.

Speaking afterwards both drivers and team boss Mark Preston said that the system ‘wasn’t fair’, and it was ‘disheartening’ to put in a strong qualifying performance only to drop down as the track improved.

Preston said, “It’s disheartening to be one and two in your qualifying group and still start in P12 and P14 on the grid.

“The team is doing such an amazing job and they should be rewarded for it.”

Having started further down the grid both Techeetah cars were caught up in an accident after Lotterer ran into the back of Antonio Felix da Costa, who in turn rammed the back of Vergne’s car.

This led to Vergne having to retire later on, and Lotterer finoshed down in thirteenth after suffering from overheating issues as the race entered the final few laps.

Afterwards though both were upset with their starting positions.

“Today wasn’t our day,” Lotterer said. “Being on top of your quali group to start in P14 it just not right with the system we have.

“We put a lot of resources into being at the top and being held back like this feels rather unfair as Group One mostly has a dirty track.

“I was moving up the pack and was looking rather good as I had more energy and speed than the cars around me. I was aiming at a P5 finish but then suffered a power deration due to high temperature and we had to fall back to be able to finish the race.”

Vergne added, “The team did a really good job today and despite being P1 in my qualifying group I started P12 on the grid due to the track evolution during the qualifying session.

“I was preparing to go on the attack when I got hit from behind and then got pushed into a car in front of me.

“After that, something wasn’t right with the car and we had to retire it early as it wasn’t possible to finish the race.”

The current qualifying system was brought in for the 2017-18 season after teams and drivers complained about the previous lottery system being too arbitrary, and unfairly punishing drivers who were in the title fight.

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