Newly-crowned Formula E season four champion and former F1 driver Jean Eric Vergne got into trouble with the FIA. He and his Techeetah teammate Andre Lotterer were guilty of wearing non-compliant underwear during qualifying for the season finale in New York.
Both drivers copped fines of €5,000 each and given two penalty points on their license. The two had been found in breach of article 30.14 of the 2017/2018 FE sporting regulations. As it turned out, the offense was during qualifying for the second race of the double-header in New York.
Admittedly, the penalties were bizarre and were handed out ahead of the final race of the 2017/18 campaign. But it did little to hinder Jean Eric Vergne as he went on to win the race. A day after he had secured his first FE drivers’ championship.
“After checking the clothes, helmet and front head restraint of the driver it was found that he was wearing non-compliant underwear pants which are not allowed by the [FIA’s] international sporting code,” according to a bulletin distributed by the governing body and announcing Vergne’s penalty.
“The driver apologised. The stewards consider that in this case the infringement occurred during group qualifying with limited cars on circuit for a short period of time.”
Lotterer’s undergarment offence occurred during the super pole session ahead of race two. The German had equalled his best FE qualifying result with second place on the grid behind pole sitter Sebastien Buemi (Renault e.dams).
However, this was not the first time that an FE driver was punished for wearing non-compliant underwear this season. At Punta del Este in March, Audi driver Lucas di Grassi was also found to be guilty of the same transgression.
But the 2016/17 FE title winner was fined €10,000 and given three penalty points in that instance.