- Are DS Decheetah ready for the 8th Season of Formula E?


Jean-Éric Vergne and António Félix da Costa!

7w ago

By Phil Bradley

Every so often, an opportunity comes along that I genuinely get excited about. An email from DS Automobiles was one of those opportunities. This opportunity involved interviewing members from the Championship winning, DS Techeetah Formula E team. The drivers needed no introduction, with Formula E Championship Winner and ex-Formula 1 driver, Jean-Eric Vergne and fellow Formula E Championship Winner, Antonio Felix da Costa. Alongside the drivers were the team principal, Thomas Chevaucher and team CEO, Mark Preston. This wasn't an opportunity I was going to miss out on!

One of the popular phrases with EV's on the public road is 'range anxiety', is this something you experience in a Formula E car?

Antonio Da Costa - We are really well planned, from the burnout before the race to the chequered flag, we have everything well planned as a team. The car tells us if we are on plan and the engineers monitor this. Even at the end of the race if I am at 1% battery, then it is not a worry at all.

Thomas Chevaucher - One of the fear from a driver of a new electric car is the fear of running out of battery, but we are showing with Formula E that our cars can go a long distance and this is not a concern to us. We have to help our customers to understand that there is no reason to be more stressed about driving an electric car compared to driving a combustion engined car.

New roles for Mark Preston and Thomas Chevaucher

New roles for Mark Preston and Thomas Chevaucher

What changes have you made for the 2021 Season?

Mark Preston - There has been some things discussed in Season 7, and we have worked together to move forwards as a solid team to secure the future in Season 8. We are focussed on growing the business in the future and make us a much more stable outfit to be successful in Season 8. We have a strong partnership with DS and it all goes towards a winning formula. We are well positioned for Season 8 and beyond.

Thomas Chevaucher - We have always been a motivated team with DS and Decheetah. We are in constant evolution and are motivated as one team. We have made major changes to the team and are prepared for the future.

What are you looking for from Formula E to improve in the coming season?

Mark Preston - The future is electric with vehicles, with Tesla, Rivian and more manufacturers coming to the table than ever before. Now we're at more of a tipping point than ever before and that means the future is bright for electric racing. We've seen manufacturers come and go in all forms of motorsport, but the technology is evolving faster and faster and we're in the right place for it. The new qualifying format should hopefully change things for the better. We've sat at the front of the grid for the past few years, with the new format we should make it into a meritocracy a bit more.

It must be nice to look forward to the new qualifying format, with not ending up last on the grid following a good lap?

Jean Eric Vergne - I am happy with the new qualifying format. You are rewarded when you are on good form and won't end up at the back of the field. I am very happy with this.

Antonio Da Costa - I understand why the qualifying was the way it was, to make for better racing. It works well when we have tracks where we can overtake, so you can come through and generate overtaking, but there are tracks where it is very hard to overtake, leading to contact between drivers. It's very frustrating to qualify in P1 and start the race at the back of the grid. There will still be a lot of racing, but the new format will be more fair.

JEV doesn't like the contact in the sport

JEV doesn't like the contact in the sport

Is Formula E a contact sport?

Jean Eric Vergne - In short, yes! We have a very professional championship, and the way drivers are racing at the moment, there is the option to hit each other and finish without their front wing. This is completely unacceptable, when you think about young children watching Formula E races, they think we are doing karting races on the track and that can't be. We are representing a brand in motorsport and the FIA need to do something about the contact. I don't understand why drivers aren't disqualified for making contact.

Antonio Da Costa - I think the cars do take a little bit of rubbing, and that's fine, with leaning on each other like you see in endurance racing too. We used to have loose wheel arches and front wings, and I think we need to bring those back. You could come into the pits when your wing become loose. This would make drivers more conscious of contact as the pit would take time out of your race.

What tracks do you want to race at in the future?

Antonio Da Costa - Buenos Aires was a great track to race and i'd like to go back. We like the people, the sun, the atmosphere. Everything.

What are you most looking forward to in the next season?

Jean Eric Vergne - Winning more races!

Antonio Da Costa - Going back to racing and seeing everyone. Racing is fun and I look forward to it.

What are you least looking forward to in the next season?

Jean Eric Vergne - Losing!

Antonio Da Costa - Even on bad days we are learning a lot. These championships are not won, they are lost. I think my biggest fear is letting my team down, I need to make sure I have the best day every time I go out to make sure we can win the Championship.

Do you prefer lots of double headed races, or a more stretched out calendar?

Mark Preston - We're not as big as an F1 team, so it's more difficult to go from race to race. I prefer single races, it will be difficult this season with the pace of the races.

Antonio Da Costa - If I can do all of the races with the pressure and tiredness then it will be fine.

Will Extreme E do Formula E any favours?

Will Extreme E do Formula E any favours?

Do you think Extreme E has had any commercial impact on Formula E?

Thomas Chevaucher - I can't say if it has had a good or bad impact on the sport, but it has definitely had an impact. It may take manufacturers away from Formula E, but it also may bring new sponsors to Formula E too. We can build bridges between Extreme E and Formula E.

Antonio Da Costa - We are leading the way with the future of motorsport, as long as there are no clashes in racing, we can do all championships and it will be perfect.

Racing in Formula E is so complicated, is it something you actually enjoy?

Antonio Da Costa - It's become less difficult the more i drive the car. It's a lot less hassle, but I do have so much fun racing in this series. Complex driving the car and energy management, but the reward for winning is so satisfying.

Jean Eric Vergne - You prepare yourself for a race for days and you aim to do the best job ever with your team. Starting in 15th position and having other driver's crashing into you is not enjoyable, I am here to win races and contend for the Championship. I enjoy when we are successful because we work hard to receive that reward.

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