14 Jul 19

Vergne: The evolution of a Champion

After Jean-Eric Vergne made history in Brooklyn becoming the first back-to-back champion in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, we take a look back over his rollercoaster racing career in the all-electric championship.

"People tell you that bad things happen for a reason," says newly crowned champion and DS Techeetah driver Jean-Eric Vergne in the aftermath of a whirlwind season showdown. "And a few years later, I now understand why," he says glancing at his hard-earned championship trophy.

The two-time champ was referring to his controversial exit from Formula One in 2014 - the same year he joined Formula E and signed to US racing outfit Andretti. Then, the disaffected driver was in a very different state of mind.

From that moment under five years ago, it took Vergne 31 races to make it to the top step of the podium, when he eventually clinched victory in Montreal in the 2015/16 season finale. Three years on and the Frenchman has now claimed his place in Formula E history as the series' first back-to-back champion with a sensational win on the streets of Brooklyn. 

But, it's not been an easy ride. "The level of aggressiveness is high [in this championship]...you eat or you'll be eaten," he says with a faint smile. "The race yesterday made me realise that nothing is won until the chequered flag...it made me more hungry to be more successful in the future." 

With eight wins and 20 podiums in 56 races, only Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi can claim more success in Formula E, although Vergne's double title speaks volumes for his ability. On top of that, he’s the second highest Pole scorer (behind Buemi) and the third highest points earner, with 577 to his name. Again, only seasoned former champs di Grassi and Buemi have topped his total.

"Clearly the moment I joined Techeeath was the moment my career took off - for the good this time. I think I'm in the best place....and we're going to keep working hard."

Finding himself in the same position last year, the Frenchman said the same after collecting his first title in New York at the end of the 2017/18 season. Now intent on going for the triple crown, Vergne will have his work cut out as he battles even more competitors - with the addition of Porsche and Mercedes as full works teams - next season. 

"I think me coming to Formula E was the best thing that ever happened to me," said the two-time champion reflecting on that all-important decision he made back in 2014.  

"I will definitely give it all next season, that's for sure - I want more," said the Frenchman with conviction.