Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne is concerned the series’ new format for its 2018-19 season could lead to more flat-out racing which he believes would produce less action.
The new format will see races run to a time limit of 45 minutes plus one lap. “I think it makes it very interesting, a lot of different strategies to have,” said Vergne in an exclusive interview with RaceFans at the FIA Gala.
However he pointed out that Safety Car periods could reduce the amount of energy-saving drivers have to do, which may negatively influence the racing.
“The only concern I have and it’s quite a big one, is that in case of [a] long Safety Car the race becomes flat-out,” he said
“That’s not the DNA of the championship. We don’t want flat-out races. We want to think it’s important also to save energy throughout the race.”
Vergne said he has raised his concerns about the potential effect of the new format. “I already suggested the idea but nobody really listened to me,” he explained. “Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know, it’s just my feeling.
“I don’t say that because it would be a benefit to me or whatever, I’m saying that because of the show, the spectacle. If you have the race with everybody following each other with no overtaking, people will be bored and that’s not what we want as a championship.
“Hopefully I’m wrong but if in the first race we see some crashes, which we probably see in every race in Formula E, and that people are following each other because they can’t overtake because it’s a flat-out race, I think they will have to change some things.”
The championship also needs to ensure the role of technology does not dominate the competition, Vergne added.
“The only thing that we all tend to agree as drivers is we hope that technology will not be making too big of a difference because then if it makes a big difference it becomes like Mercedes in F1. Domination.
“I think one of the reasons why the championship is successful, and why there is so many manufacturers is that they all have the feeling, rightfully so, that they can win or achieve podiums at every race if they do the right job. So hopefully we’re not going too much in that direction, too far. But so far it’s OK.”
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