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Formula E: ‘Concrete tyres’ make it ‘impossible’ to overtake

Jean-Éric Vergne is struggling to get to grips with his car and the 'concrete tyres' on it.

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Jean-Éric Vergne has compared the new Formula E tyres to ‘concrete’ and has asked for slicks instead.

Jean-Éric Vergne has not started the season how he wanted to. He believes that the tyres Formula E use are partly to blame. Credit: FIAFormulae.com

Season 9 of Formula E is well underway and we have already seen a title fight emerge and there’s only been three races! However, there is one aspect of the season that has proved difficult for the drivers to get their heads around. That is, the new cars. The Gen3 cars have a whole host of differences from previous seasons, including new tyres.

For Season 9, Formula E has partnered up with Hankook Tyres and has moved on from Michelin, their old provider. To be more environmentally friendly, Formula E now uses more sustainable tyres. In order to limit waste, the tyres are also designed so they can be used in all weather. There are no ‘slicks’, ‘intermediates’ or ‘wets’ in Formula E.

This may be great for the environment. The way they run, however, is not the best for driving, according to Jean-Éric Vergne.

Concrete Tyres?

According to Autosport, Jean-Éric Vergne has stated that he wants slick tyres in Formula E as the current ones make the car difficult to drive.

“I mean, the tyres are hard, like concrete – and it’s so slippery.”

In an effort to make the tyres more durable, it was known that the new Formula E tyres would be a harder compound which tyre engineers would need to figure out.

Although the tyres are hard to use, other teams have seemed to handle the difficulties much better than DS Penske. The Hankook iON tyres have proved to be a new challenge for tyre engineers but many drivers and teams seem to be doing just fine.

Vergne’s comments come after the Mexico City E-Prix which saw him and his teammate do very well in Free Practice. On the other hand, they then fail to get through to the duels in qualifying and coming home from the race point-less.

The Frenchman alluded to the tyres being one of the reasons behind the poor performance in Mexico City. He said that they lead to him having no confidence in the car.

“In the race, it was a bit of a… it’s impossible to overtake.. because the amount of grip is so little that there is no way you can attempt a late overtake,” Vergne explained.

Since these comments were made, the French driver was able to figure out the overtaking capabilities of these tyres and managed to bring home some points in Diriyah. Still, both Vergne and Vandoorne have not managed to start the season well and currently sit seventh in the team standings.

Safety Issues

Formula E’s ‘concrete tyres’ have led to Vergne having no confidence in competitive, fierce racing. They also have meant he is more worried for his, and other drivers’ safety.

“We’ve seen many crashes just because the level of confidence in the car is extremely low and it’s difficult to overtake,” the two-time Formula E champion said.

For now, there have not been too many complaints about the tyres. It appears so far that Vergne has been the only one making noise about it. However, if there are more crashes, the tyres may need to be looked into.

Feature Image: @ds_penske_fe on Twitter

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