Techeetah claims Gutierrez breached contract by quitting Formula E

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BERLIN, Germany – The Techeetah Formula E team has accused Esteban Gutierrez of breaching his contract after quitting the all-electric championship in order to take up a drive in the Verizon IndyCar Series with Dale Coyne Racing.

After losing his drive in Formula 1 with Haas at the end of last year, Gutierrez announced in January that he would be entering Formula E, making his debut with Techeetah in Mexico City at the beginning of April.

The Mexican took part in just three Formula E races before departing to take up a seat in IndyCar with Dale Coyne Racing, replacing the injured Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 18 Honda for the Detroit race last weekend.

Gutierrez has not been formally confirmed for the rest of the IndyCar season and will miss this weekend’s race in Texas as he has not been able to complete an oval test, but is expected to take the seat until Bourdais returns.

There was some confusion upon arrival in Berlin as Gutierrez’s replacement, Stephane Sarrazin, did not receive approval to race for Techeetah from the stewards until Friday afternoon.

Formula E teams are required to nominate their drivers two weeks in advance of a race, putting Techeetah and Venturi – Sarrazin’s former team – in breach of this regulation.

Techeetah argued that the breach was “a result of an alleged breach of contract between the driver and the competitor,” which the stewards accepted.

“It was reported to the Stewards that the nominated driver Mr. Esteban Gutierrez breached his contract with the competitor Techeetah and decided to compete in another series which conflicted with Formula E Championship,” a stewards note reads.

“The stewards in accordance with ISC 12.2.6 will refer this alleged breach of contract to the FIA International Tribunal.”

When approached by NBC Sports, Techeetah declined to comment on the matter.

Venturi has been hit with a €5,000 fine for also breaching the same regulation by drafting in Tom Dillmann to replace Sarrazin for the remainder of the season.