Newly crowned Season 5 Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne has been handed one day of community service after acting in an unsportive manner on team radio at the New York City E-Prix.
The Frenchman, who was found to be in breach of Appendix B of the 2018/2019 FIA Formula E Sporting Regulations, was called to the steward's office after Sunday's season finale over a radio communication between the driver and his DS Techeetah team in Race 1 of the weekend.
The communication in question suggested that Vergne requested his DS Techeetah team to tell Andre Lotterer to stop on-track during the 12th race of the season in order to cause a safety car.
"The Stewards heard from the Driver of Car 25 and his Team Manager," read an FIA-issued bulletin. "The relevant extracts from the radio communications were played. The Driver of Car 25 acknowledged that he had called his engineer during Round 12 and made the following utterance:
“Tell Andre to stop … to bring out the Safety Car"
In response, Vergne detailed that "he knew that Car 36 had sustained damage in an incident at Turn 6 on Lap 2 had broken the front wing and had lost time as a result such that it was no longer in contention for a points finish in Round 12."
"He held concerns for his safety and that of other Drivers due to debris on track and made the request to his engineer that Car 36 be requested to stop for that reason only," continued the bulletin.
"The Driver of Car 25 said that he recognises that his messages could be misunderstood. He acknowledged, with the benefit of hindsight, the messages were inappropriate, particularly having been made on an open channel which is available to the public via the E-App and which he was aware could be monitored by Race Officials. The Stewards noted that Car 25’s engineer did not respond to the messages from Mr Vergne.
"The Stewards accept the explanation of Mr Vergne but it is the obligation of a sportsman at this level to act in a fair and correct manner and as a role model to other drivers at all levels of motorsport."
Vergne's one day of public service will be directed by the FIA and will take place within the next six months. This decision will not impact Vergne's results at the New York City E-Prix.