Vergne: 'Vettel laughed in my face about Formula E!'

Two-time Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne has revealed that Sebastian Vettel was less than impressed when he first... The post Vergne: 'Vettel laughed in my face about Formula E!' appeared first on F1i.com.

Vergne: 'Vettel laughed in my face about Formula E!'

Two-time Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne has revealed that Sebastian Vettel was less than impressed when he first learned that the French driver was leaving F1 to compete in the all-electric world championship.

Vergne competed in three seasons of F1 with Toro Rosso, and was subsequently reserve driver at Ferrari the year that Sebastian Vettel made the move to Maranello in 2015.

“When I came to Formula E I also became a reserve driver for Ferrari so I was often with Vettel,” Vergne recalled in a conversation this week with the French edition of Motorsport.com

“He laughed a bit in my face," he continued. "He said, ‘What are those lawnmowers?’

"But then he soon started saying Formula E was also the future, that it was good, that F1 wasn’t doing enough on electric mobility, on zero carbon emissions, and that Formula 1 should do more like Formula E does.

"That the opinion of a four-time world champion has changed quite radically in a few years, and also shows how everyone’s point of view has changed."

Vergne himself admits to being unsure whether a full transition to electric engines is the right future for F1. And he admitted that he'd originally had doubts of his own when he made the jump.

"At the beginning it’s true that even I myself thought, ‘What am I going to do here?’ when I came to Formula E," he said. "Racing electric cars still seemed crazy to me.

© Twitter.com / @JeanEricVergne

"In the end, seven years later, here we are," he added. “We have an FIA World Championship. A lot of drivers who didn’t want to be in Formula E before are dreaming of being in it now."

It's not just Formula E's environmental credentials that are appealing to some of the best drivers around the world.

"It's one of the only championships where drivers get paid," Vergne stated. “Until proven otherwise I don’t think there are drivers who pay to drive in Formula E, which is not the case in Formula 1 for example.

"You have to earn a living and Formula E is currently one of the best categories to be a professional driver," he suggested. "The goal of every driver is to one day be a driver for a manufacturer.

"The business model is quite good, all the teams are fighting for podiums and points, which is not the case in other championships. The fact these teams can also pay the drivers shows it is a healthy championship."

Vergne added that he had a higher profile now as a former Formula E champion than he'd achieved as a driver for one of the teams lower down the grid in F1.

"When I was in F1 there were three or four French people in F1, and not everyone knew me," he recalled.

"Now, when I get into a taxi in France, we chat with the taxi driver, he asks me 'What do I do?' and I tell him I'm a Formula E driver, and everyone knows Formula E.

"Obviously that didn't happen before, not even three years ago. The guy is super happy to have a Formula E driver in his taxi!

"It's nice to see how people's minds change in motorsports - among drivers, and outside of the racing world in the normal world."

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Wolff wants London mayor to support GP in the city

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has made a public call to newly reelected London mayor Sadiq Khan to consider... The post Wolff wants London mayor to support GP in the city appeared first on F1i.com.

Wolff wants London mayor to support GP in the city

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has made a public call to newly reelected London mayor Sadiq Khan to consider plans to hold a Grand Prix on the streets of the UK's capital city.

Wolff said that the addition of a race in London would be in addition to the traditional event at Silverstone rather than a replacement for it.

"We have a Grand Prix in Silverstone as this is what the fans love," he told Standard Sport on Friday. "Silverstone is part of the traditional circuit of races in Formula 1.

"But racing in London would top everything," he added, directing his comments to Mr Khan and to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. "I hope that the Mayor of London and Mr Johnson read this and we get that going."

F1 has previously held demonstration events in the streets of London's West End and along Whitehall, but a race involving the closure of the streets in the heart of one of Europe's business cities has proved problematic.

Formula E has raced in the city in recent years, with an event held on the South Bank of the Thames in Battersea Park. The all-electric world championship returns to London in July with a double header at a new venue in east London's docklands area.

Racing will take place around the city's iconic Royal Docks and ExCeL London exhibition centre, including a run along the Thames waterfront.

However, hosting a Formula 1 Grand Prix is an altogether bigger logistical problem, which so far has defeated supporters and potential promoters and organisers. But Wolff insisted that now was the right time to try.

"We have the most efficient hybrid engines in the world," he argued. "And the current superstar is a British guy. So [it's the ideal time to go] racing in London showcasing our technology and our innovative capability.

"Let’s go. Let’s go racing in London!" he added.

Even if the logistical obstacles can be overcome, there is the problem or where the race could fit on the calendar.

This year's schedule currently packs in 23 races, more than any previous season, and a new race in Miami next year has already been confirmed.

With teams complaining about the high work load and warning about staff burn-out, adding a further race would likely be at the expense of other events being squeezed out.

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