Jean-Eric Vergne: Andre Lotterer and I are 'unique' FE team-mates
|By Alex Kalinauckas, Rob Watts||Tuesday, August 14th 2018, 14:25 GMT|
Techeetah's Jean-Eric Vergne says he and Andre Lotterer are "unique" team-mates after the pair worked together in the 2017/18 Formula E season.
Vergne collected his first FE drivers' title and Techeetah beat several larger squads to secure second in the team's championship, narrowly missing out to Audi in the final race.
The pair dramatically made contact while on course to score a memorable one-two finish in the Santiago ePrix, but Vergne believes the trust they developed since that race contributed significantly to Techeetah's season four success.
"We are a unique pair of team-mates," Vergne told Autosport.
"Andre probably didn't expect that coming into Formula E but I truly gave him everything I knew in this car for him to be as strong as possible.
"It created a very trusting relationship between him and I, and the whole team was working in a much better environment with us together. That helped the team massively.
"I think 99% of the drivers want to kill their team-mates, and after this year, I don't think it's the way it should be. It depends on who you have next to you.
"If you have somebody that plays the game, like Andre did, it's much better for the team and there is no disadvantage.
Lotterer, who made his FE debut in season four, proved to be an effective wingman to Vergne on several occasions after getting up to speed following a difficult opening set of races.
He applied pressure to Vergne's title rival Sam Bird in Paris early in that event and defended robustly later on to try and help Vergne extend his lead.
In the first race in New York, Lotterer led Techeetah's charge through the field before letting Vergne past to gain the points he needed to clinch the title.
The triple Le Mans winner says it was a "no-brainer" to help his team-mate after Vergne's early assistance.
"It's a give and take and JEV helped me a lot at the beginning of the year to get up to speed and give me all the tips," Lotterer told Autosport.
"So, considering that and how the team has been nice to me, got me on board, and helped me with everything, it's a complete no-brainer for me to be a team player.
"I come from endurance sport and it's what we do.
"If you are not winning a championship, it doesn't change my life much if I give a position up or down.
"So yeah, I'm happy to have played a part and I think from the middle of the season on, the speed was pretty good. In Paris, I defended quite strongly so he [Vergne] was having an easy life in front.
"It has been a good season, I learnt a lot and am looking forward to the next one."
Vergne and Lotterer will remain at Techeetah, which will be a works-backed outfit in partnership with DS Automobiles, for season five.