Jean-Eric Vergne has branded FIA Formula E’s qualifying format as a “joke” and “not fair” after only managing 13th on the grid for the Santiago E-Prix. 

The reigning FE champion suffered from a dramatic change to the track conditions after going out in the first group of runners in Chile, having initially led a Techeetah 1-2 in the timesheets. 

Vergne ultimately plummeted down the order and would have to settle with 13th on the grid after other drivers took advantage of the improved track conditions as the session progressed. 

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FE’s qualifying sessions are split into four groups of up to six drivers, with the order determined by the drivers’ current championship position. With Vergne third in the 2018/19 standings, he was included in the opening group that took to the track first. 

“I think they should do no qualifying and just take the reverse order of the championship because clearly it’s a joke here,” The Frenchman explained. 

“I did a clean lap but there’s no way I can be in Super Pole with those conditions. I really hope they can do something about it because it’s not fair. 

“We work as hard as the other ones, that’s the reason why we [Techeetah] lead the championship as the manufacturer. 

“It’s not fair at all. The track was so dirty, there was leaves and dust everywhere.” 

Vergne was among a number of drivers, including teammate Andre Lotterer, BMW’s Antonio Felix da Costa and current championship leader Jerome d’Ambrosio to lose out during an unpredictable qualifying session that produced a mixed-up grid. 

“I’m in a strong position because I am in a good car for the race,” he added. 

“Luckily I had two races where I did a lot of overtaking, so I guess I’m getting used to that and that’s clearly what I’m going to have to do this afternoon.”

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