Formula E champion Vergne: DS/Techeetah potential should worry rivals
|By Alex Kalinauckas, Graham Keilloh||Tuesday, August 7th 2018, 14:48 GMT|
Jean-Eric Vergne reckons that Techeetah's Formula E rivals should be "worried" by the potential boost the squad may get from its tie-up with DS Automobiles next season.
Vergne claimed the 2017/18 FE drivers' title with Techeetah using customer Renault powertrains as the championship's sole private squad.
Techeetah, which only lost the teams' championship to Audi by two points, confirmed a long-rumoured partnership with DS last month.
Now a manufacturer-backed team, Techeetah will be able to complete 15 days of private testing ahead of season five - previously it could only run its cars during the three days of official pre-season testing.
As well as the extra testing, Vergne believes the benefits of OEM support will significantly increase Techeetah's budget.
"I look at what we've done this year as a private team with the smallest budget [and] no testing days," Vergne said.
"Imagine what we can do with a manufacturer, 15 days of testing and probably double the budget? I think those guys [Techeetah's rivals] should be worried."
Vergne added that Techeetah should be proud of its season four performance, despite the disappointment of losing the teams' championship in the season finale in New York.
His race two victory in that event was not enough, as second and third places behind him secured the title for Audi after Vergne's team-mate Andre Lotterer, who incurred a 10-second stop/go penalty for jumping the start, finished ninth.
"It's difficult for them because they gave so much," Vergne told Autosport.
"But what we've done as a small team, the only private team, not a manufacturer like the giant Audi, is absolutely amazing and they should all be extremely proud of what they've done.
"Next year with a manufacturer, with more budget, we should be able to do very well.
"We're still a young team, everybody learns in the team, and it should keep everybody highly motivated to go and get the teams' championship for next season."