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Formula E

Why Formula E must take Vergne quit threat seriously

Jean-Eric Vergne has threatened to quit Formula E if the peloton-style of races continue.

To news overview © Simon Galloway / Formula E

Jean-Eric Vergne threatening to quit Formula E during last weekend's Berlin E-Prix is a damning moment for the all-electric series, which is the home of an increasingly disgruntled paddock.

The reason for it all is the peloton-style of races which have become a common trend in the current Gen3 era, much to the displeasure of the vast majority of drivers. 

Last weekend's Berlin double-header was the latest installment of the peloton, with the opening race in particular having been an incident-packed one. 

Whilst it cannot be doubted that the peloton races are eventful and full of action, something fans are enjoying, others are finding it difficult to follow. 

For the drivers, some have gone as far as stating that qualifying has become irrelevant, as proven by Oliver Rowland starting both races towards the back of the grid, only to breeze through the pack to claim two podiums.

There was an element of strategy to Rowland's podiums, but the big worry is how aggressive drivers become during the peloton races. 

This is not because Formula E has aggressive drivers but more to do with the fact that when individuals are not fiery, they are swallowed by the pack and often become a victim of someone else's bold move.

At first, the peloton races were seen as something different, but now they are seen as dangerous and a style of racing the drivers do not want to partake in. 

			© Formula E
	© Formula E

Gen3.5 concerns

The opening race in Berlin was won by Nick Cassidy, with Vergne and Rowland in second and third. Cassidy spent most of the race in 21st, before cruising to the front due to an energy advantage. 

Despite a huge recovery to win, all three podium finishers looked deflated and were quick to share their unhappiness with the type of racing Formula E is becoming known for. 

Vergne, the sport's only two-time champion, went a step further in the media pen and told RacingNews365 that if the peloton races continue over the next couple of seasons, then he will leave.

"Oh it might happen, it might happen," warned Vergne, when asked if drivers will quit Formula E over the peloton.

"The good thing is that there is a Gen4, but if Gen4 is the same, I will stop for sure."

When speaking to Vergne, the DS Penske driver explained that the issue is the aero package of the current era of car, which, in his words, makes each car "a parachute". 

To his frustration, the Gen3.5 car for the next two seasons consists of "exactly the same" levels of downforce, meaning the peloton races will continue for at least another two campaigns. 

Work needs doing

Vergne is not the only driver to voice their frustration last weekend at the current style of racing in Formula E, as Mitch Evans also complained to RacingNews365 about the peloton races in Berlin.

"Everyone's trying to get to the front at the same time," said Evans. "It's like the first race but it's a little different. But you know, as long as these peloton races will come and happen, there's going to be a mess."

The number of drivers becoming disgruntled with the peloton races is increasing race-by-race, although most are opting not to discuss their frustrations to the media. 

Vergne's threat to quit is significant, as it would cause horrific damage to Formula E should one of its most successful drivers in the series leave over the style of racing. This is why Vergne's annoyance must be taken seriously by the series.

Of course, there are some drivers who do not mind the peloton races, including, reigning world champion Jake Dennis. 

Unfortunately, the drivers against it outweigh the number of drivers in favour, with the two big concerns being the dangers the peloton presents and the likelihood of a hand injury in a collision.

Formula E is doing an incredible amount of good but the concerns of the drivers in regard to the peloton need to be addressed ahead of Season 11, to avoid a frustration overload. 

There are ways around limiting the number of peloton races, such as reducing the number of laps to lower the energy target or increase the usable energy. 

Other options could be discussed with the drivers but with his experience, Vergne's threat needs to be viewed by Formula E as a strong indicator that something needs to be done. 

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look ahead at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The trio discuss last season's cancelled race at Imola, whether McLaren's Miami pace is genuine and if Mercedes teenage sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli will make his debut before he turns 18.

Want to watch the podcast instead of just listening? Check it out here.

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