Jean-Eric Vergne is not convinced that Max Verstappen would be able to perform at the same level in Formula E as he does in F1. The Frenchman had a brief Formula 1 career with the then-called Toro Rosso outfit, who he raced for between 2012 and 2014. However, he was left without a seat for the 2015 season, and one of the drivers to replace him at the squad was none other than Verstappen. Following this, Vergne made the switch to Formula E, and has since become the only driver to win two championships in the electric series. Verstappen, meanwhile, has enjoyed huge success in F1, and continues his title defence this season following his debut World Championship win in 2021.
Different preparations needed for Formula E and F1
Having experienced both categories, Vergne believes that there are some key differences in how drivers prepare for Formula E and F1 events. The DS TECHEETAH driver thinks that Formula E stars have to put in much more work in the simulator. "Sometimes you win races, [and] you don't really know what you do well, and [sometimes] you don't win races and you don't really know what you do wrong," Vergne told media, including R acingNews365.com . "I think the secret is to only focus on yourself and then try to really maximise your package, and it's a lot of hard work. We spend a lot of time working with engineers in the factory, spending many days in the simulator. "As a matter of fact, I work a lot more than [I did] in Formula 1, and I know that the drivers in Formula E, we spend a lot more time in the simulator than any other categories."
Vergne assesses Verstappen's chances in Formula E
These differences are so great that, according to Vergne, any driver arriving into Formula E from another category would find the move challenging, even the likes of Verstappen. When asked if he could beat Verstappen if they were both racing electric cars, Vergne explained: "I tell you what; if I raced in Formula 1 against him, I'm going be quite honest with you – I'm not going to beat him. "[He is] clearly on the top of his game in Formula 1 and he could be unbeatable. "If he comes [to] Formula E, he's not going to be unbeatable. I can bet you anything on that." Vergne then jokingly added: "I think I'm the best!"
How Gen3 can be a "step forward" for Formula E
The current Season 8 of Formula E will mark the final campaign before the sport switches to the new Gen3 cars, which will not only look different but will also be faster than their predecessors. Vergne is looking forward to the challenge that this will bring. "I think it's a great step forward," he said. "I wonder, though, how the racing is going to happen. It's going to be a huge quantity of saving energy, so that's going to be very interesting for us. "It's a new challenge, and I love a new challenge. With the team, we are already asking ourselves a lot of questions about how we're going to do things. "So it's a very exciting time [with] this new car, and [it will have] a lot of power as well. It's going to be great to drive, it's going to be very fast, so that's a good step forward."
Can racing be improved?
Vergne hopes that this will provide good racing, adding: "But already this year, with the change of qualifying format, I see less crashes. "It's a little bit cleaner racing, and I like this. For next year, I don't know how it's going to be, but I hope it's going to be less 'bumper [car]'." The French driver has also praised Formula E for ensuring that they can race at venues where overtaking is possible. "We can't stay behind [for] the whole race doing nothing," he commented.