Jean-Eric Vergne felt his penalty for overtaking under a Full Course Yellow in Saturday’s GEOX Rome E-Prix was inconsistent with a similar incident earlier in the season.
The DS Techeetah driver was running in ninth when the FCY was called to retrieve Felipe Massa’s Venturi car that had been parked with a suspected driveshaft issue.
Vergne was close to title rival Antonio Felix da Costa at the time of the caution and gained a position on the BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver who was forced to brake in avoidance of seventh-placed Maximilian Guenther.
Vergne held the position over da Costa when the race returned to green flag running and was subsequently given a drive-through penalty and two penalty points for the illegal pass.
After the race, the defending series champion alluded to an episode earlier in the season in Mexico City when he was overtaken by three drivers without any sanctions being applied.
“In Mexico I was overtaken by three drivers in the second countdown – we got the first one from the race director then I said ‘Full Course Yellow’ and then we got five seconds to go down to 50 kph,” Vergne told e-racing365.
“I was overtaken by three cars before the red flag came out in that exact period.
“I went to see the stewards straight away and they said ‘no, it’s fine’, so then I went to see the race director after the race in Mexico to explain my point of view. It was not normal to overtake once the race director says Full Course Yellow.”
Vergne insisted that the situation in Rome was the same and that the action taken against him was not consistent with what transpired in Mexico City.
“Today I’ve done exactly the same thing and they’ve given me a super harsh penalty for something that was apparently ok three races ago,” he said post-race.
“It’s something I can’t understand, but I respect the decision, it’s normal that we shouldn’t overtake under FCY and I did that in consideration of everything that happened in this season.”
Frustrated Vergne Rues Qualifying Issue
Vergne, who now sits seventh in the standings after finishing 14th in Italy, admitted he was frustrated by a wheel-hub issue in the qualifying session that saw him qualify a lowly 17th on the grid.
Despite this, the Frenchman made swift progress through the field and looked set to achieve a top-six result before the Full Course Yellow incident.
“I don’t know what to say, I’m lacking words, really. I’m frustrated as we had a wheel issue in quali,” he said.
“I had a clean race, came back to seventh, overtook guys [who are] in front of me in the championship – da Costa, di Grassi – all these guys
“I pulled back a massive gap, had the fastest lap, and I really extracted everything I could form today’s race, but got nothing.”