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Formula E

Cassidy: Vergne's driving 'on the limit of fair'

Jean-Eric Vergne was involved in two incidents with Mitch Evans during the recent Diriyah E-Prix, which the stewards paid little attention to. This has concerned Evans's teammate, Nick Cassidy.

Cassidy - Diriyah 2024
To news overview © Alastair Staley / Formula E

Formula E championship leader Nick Cassidy wasn't impressed by Jean-Eric Vergne's driving during the recent double-header in Diriyah, which cost his teammate a potential victory.

Mitch Evans and Vergne had two heated moments during the opening race on the outskirts of Riyadh, with the first having seen the Jaguar driver pushed into a wall by the two-time FE Champion whilst duelling for second.

Evans was forced into the wall on the exit of Turn 19 after exiting the Attack Mode detection loop, which fed drivers straight back onto the racing line. Vergne failed to yield and made contact with Evans, as a result of the Frenchman taking his usual line.

FE drivers do have a bit of a gentlemen's agreement amongst them, in that the driver exiting the detection zone has the right of way. On this occasion, the agreement was clearly ripped to pieces.

Miraculously, neither driver obtained damage, with Vergne in second and Evans in third. The stewards did note this incident but opted against opening an investigation.

Had Evans got past, then the chances are he would've battled reigning World Champion Jake Dennis for victory. Dennis ended up winning by the second-biggest margin in the history of the sport – 13.2 seconds.

Due to energy management having been minimal, neither race in Diriyah was an overtaking-fest. As a result, Evans was stuck behind Vergne for the bulk of the opening race following their incident.

The Kiwi was determined to finish second though and attempted to overtake Vergne on the final lap, with a daring move into Turn 18. It quickly became clear that the move wouldn't work, as Evans struggled to slow his Jaguar I-TYPE 6.

However, his troubles worsened when Vergne moved twice under-braking, resulting in the 29-year-old going even deeper into the corner. This cost Evans several positions, as he tumbled from third to fifth. Cassidy was the big winner, as he inherited third and a podium finish.

Controversially, the second incident wasn't even noted by the stewards, leaving Evans furious.

Cassidy 'scared' of similar incidents happening to him

Cassidy spoke on his team-mate's incidents with Vergne after the weekend, which saw him secure his first win for Jaguar in the second race around the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Auckland-born driver understood why Evans was livid with Vergne and admitted his surprise that no penalty was awarded. For Cassidy, the DS Penske driver's actions should've been penalised.

"Yeah, look it wasn't my incident," Cassidy told RacingNews365 during a post-Diriyah virtual roundtable.

"So it's hard to give too much of a comment. I probably am going to anyway, just because I think it needs to be spoken about in briefings and things.

"Obviously, the first incident, he [Vergne] drove him [Evans] into the wall, which I mean, like that was pretty obvious. It was pretty straightforward, clear. Kind of surprised nothing was done.

"The second one on the final lap. I mean, obviously, Mitch was going for it. Like he wanted to get the move done. I just noticed that when Mitch went to the inside, JEV [Vergne] was straight on the braking.

"And then he had a, I don't know if you guys saw from the front, angled front view. He had another little weave inside. And Mitch kind of reacted to that, and then kind of got this wobble. And knowing how dusty it is there, if you get any kind of slide, then with these cars, you can't really stop.

"So I think JEV's a really smart guy. He knows what he was doing. I think he's a really great, great racer. But it was on the limit of fair in my opinion. So I was surprised to see that one not really looked into further. But yeah, it wasn't my incident."

Proper FIA policing called for

Cassidy was keen to speak out on both incidents as he wants to see drivers penalised for those sorts of antics. He's ultimately worried that it'll be him one day involved in a similar incident and wants assurance that the stewards will act responsibly.

"I'm a little bit vocal, because I'm scared about that happening to me and would like it to be policed properly in the future. But certainly, if I was in Mitch's shoes, I would have not been too happy either.

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