Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne punished with community service

Updated 10:08 AM EDT, Mon July 15, 2019
CNN —  

Formula E world champion Jean-Eric Vergne has been ordered to complete a day of community service for unsportsmanlike behavior in the penultimate race of the season in New York.

Vergne became the sport’s first ever double winner over the weekend – successfully defending his crown from last season – after title hopefuls Mitch Evans and Lucas di Grassi tangled on the final lap to gift the Frenchman seventh place.

New York played host to the double-header that rounded off the season, with one E-Prix on Saturday and another on Sunday.

In Saturday’s race, Vergne twice requested over the team radio that DS Techeetah teammate Andre Lotterer stop on the track in order to introduce a safety car and allow him to return to the pits and fix his damaged car.

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“Tell Andre to stop … to bring out the Safety Car,” Vergne said, according to the stewards’ report.

07:10 - Source: CNN
Vergne clinches Formula E title in New York

Vergne’s punishment from the FIA – motorsport’s governing body – does not affect his title win or race results from the New York double-header.

“Mr. Vergne said that these messages were conveyed in the following context: He knew that [Lotterer] had sustained damage in an incident, had broken the front wing and had lost time as a result such that it was no longer in contention for a points finish in Round 12.

“He held concerns for his safety and that of other drivers due to debris on track and made the request to his engineer that [Lotterer] be requested to stop for that reason only.

“[Vergne] said that he recognizes that his messages could be misunderstood. He acknowledged, with the benefit of hindsight, the messages were inappropriate, particularly having been made on an open channel which is available to the public and which he was aware could be monitored by Race Officials.

“The Stewards noted that [the] engineer did not respond to the messages from Mr. Vergne. The Stewards accept the explanation of Mr. Vergne but it is the obligation of a sportsman at this level to act in a fair and correct manner and as a role model to other drivers at all levels of motorsport.”

The last time the organization handed out similar punishment was to Formula One driver Max Verstappen for his shove on Esteban Ocon following a crash at the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Dutchman Verstappen was ordered to “observe stewards” at this season’s Marrakesh E-Prix at one of his two days’ community service.

The FIA has yet to specify how Vergne will carry out his community service but it must be completed within the next six months.

Vergne and DS Techeetah did not immediately respond to CNN Sport’s request for comment.