Vergne to leave DS Virgin Racing for third Formula E season

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LONDON, UK – Jean-Eric Vergne will switch teams for the third FIA Formula E season after making his final appearance for DS Virgin Racing in Sunday’s London ePrix.

Vergne joined DS Virgin for season two, racing alongside Sam Bird. However, he struggled to match his teammate for pace for much of the campaign, only scoring his first podium finish in Paris in April. Pole position followed in Berlin before another podium in London on Saturday.

However, Vergne’s future with DS Virgin had been brought into question ever since the Buenos Aires ePrix in February amid confusion over his fitness after being ruled out before ultimately racing.

Vergne dropped hints about a possible departure in the lead-up to the London weekend, before confirming after the race on Sunday that it had been his last for the team.

“Yes, it was my last race with them,” Vergne told this writer, before saying that an announcement regarding his next move in Formula E will come “soon”.

Vergne balances his commitments in Formula E with a reserve role at Scuderia Ferrari in Formula 1, having taken over from Esteban Gutierrez following the Meixcan’s move to Haas for the 2016 season.

His final race for DS Virgin ended with a time penalty after using too much energy on his final stint, resulting in 50 seconds being added to his time, costing him third place. An additional second was added for an unsafe release from the pit lane.

Team principal Alex Tai confirmed that a miscalculation on the pit wall had caused Vergne to run short on energy, eventually being classified eighth after the penalties.

“I freed JEV up to make sure he was still able to attack and race as hard as he wanted to race. I should have taken a little but more into account some of the maths that was going on in the pit lane at the same time,” Tai explained.

Vergne’s seat with DS Virgin is widely expected to be taken by two-time WTCC champion Jose Maria Lopez, who is a factory driver for Citroen, the parent company of DS.

Lopez expressed an interest in racing in Formula E over the Buenos Aires ePrix weekend in his native Argentina, and even had a seat fitting after Vergne was ruled out before eventually recovering to take part in the race.

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”