Techeetah boss was oblivious to Vergne-Lotterer clash

Techeetah team principal Mark Preston has revealed he did not initially know that heavy contact between his drivers’ almost threw away a Formula E history-making one-two in Santiago last weekend.

Techeetah boss was oblivious to Vergne-Lotterer clash
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah
Race winner Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah, Nelson Piquet Jr., Jaguar Racing
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah, Nelson Piquet Jr., Jaguar Racing
Andre Lotterer, Techeetah, Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah, spray the champagne on the podium
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah, Nelson Piquet Jr., Jaguar Racing, Andre Lotterer, Techeetah
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah, Andre Lotterer, Techeetah make up the first 1st 2nd finish in Formula E history
Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah, Andre Lotterer, Techeetah celebrate on the podium

Jean-Eric Vergne beat team-mate Andre Lotterer to record the first ever one-two finish by any team in FE’s 37-race history. 

Their wheel-to-wheel battle almost ended in despair after one particularly significant hit, when Lotterer locked up in the heavy braking zone for the 90-degree Turn 3 right-hander and rear-ended Vergne.

In an interview with Motorsport.tv programme The Flying Lap, Preston explained how a technical failure in the pitlane meant Techeetah was blind to those events.

“I only watched the entire race when I got home – it’s even crazier now I see it in rewind,” he said.

“We didn’t expect to be, so early in the season, [with] both cars right behind each other in the race.

“Ten laps to go we lost everything – internet, TV, timing. We couldn’t check the gaps to the cars. We had radio to ourselves but not the drivers. 

“We didn’t actually get to see all that stuff in the middle of the race. 

“What we had to do is [that] a couple of our guys went down to some of the other teams who were watching their TVs in the corner of their eyes, who were telling us the gaps, and we put that information on the pitboards so the drivers could see.”

Despite the scare, Vergne’s victory launched him to the top of the championship, while Lotterer’s first FE points after a difficult opening few races helped Techeetah move into first place in the teams’ contest. 

Preston said testing with James Rossiter and Frederic Makowiecki in Marrakesh had helped the team make significant progress, because its status as a customer team meant it only had three days of pre-season running while its rivals had 15. 

“Testing is of utmost importance,” he said. “Part of the reason we had such a successful weekend is we had a [one-day] test after the Marrakesh race.

“We had 33 percent more testing than we’d had previously. That really gave us a great boost.”

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