Jani to leave WEC to focus on Formula E

by Tom Cairns
Neel Jani - Credit: Porsche

Neel Jani has announced that he will leave the FIA World Endurance Championship at the end of its current season to focus on his commitments in the 2019-20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship when he groups up with Porsche.

The Swiss driver currently competes for Rebellion Racing in the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship, having finished second in the 2018 6 Hours of Silverstone and third in the 2018 6 Hours of Fuji.

Formula E will not be new for the 35-year old, as he has competed in two races for Dragon Racing in the 2017 Hong Kong E-Prix before his abrupt departure during the Christmas period.

After Le Mans, I stop. My focus switches to Formula E,” Jani said to Motorsport.com

“I have to set my priorities. When a brand like Porsche gives you a chance to drive their cars, you have to give it full commitment. For me there was never a question.”

Having announced his departure during the 1000 Miles of Sebring last weekend, Jani’s decision was partly down to the incapabilities of his privateers to challenge the superior Toyotas for the title.

“Here we don’t have a chance,” Jani said. “We’re just here so that the others [Toyota] don’t win alone. That’s not my aim for racing.

“I like the championship, I like the races, I like the paddock. It’s not an easy decision in that way. But it is how it goes sometimes.

“It doesn’t mean I’m never coming back. I’m not happy about it, but I’m also not unhappy. For sure it’s not the same thrill as I had the last four years [driving for Porsche in LMP1].”

Jani did not have the best of weekends in Sebring; gear selection issues for both Rebellion cars meant a place on the podium was lost for one of its cars.

The team had begun the season with great reliability but a downward spiral was what will be the final straw on the Swiss driver’s future in the elite sports car championship.

“We had a lot of trouble with tyres here, getting them to work,” Jani said. “Then struggling with the bumps. A lot of gearshift issues in the race because of the bumps.

“We took as it a test for Le Mans but obviously we cannot be happy with how the weekend went. We know where our problems are and we have to start solving them.

“A big chunk of that is getting the tyres to work. We know the SMP is better on tyres in the short-term, and that’s where we are weak.

“And reliability now is a bigger issue than in the past, which is a shame. That was our strength; now it’s our weakness.”

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