Jean-Eric Vergne has revealed he made an unprompted approach to Antonio Felix da Costa about a possible DS Techeetah Formula E drive after sensing Andre Lotterer would move to Porsche.
Da Costa will race alongside Vergne in the upcoming 2019-20 season having left his factory BMW deal to join the reigning FE champion squad, which Lotterer left at the end of last season to join Porsche.
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Vergne enjoyed a strong friendship with Lotterer during their two seasons as FE team-mates, and the double title winner says he spoke to da Costa at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours as he felt Lotterer would chose to accept an offer from Porsche despite having a year left on his DS Techeetah contract.
When asked by Autosport if he had initiated contact with da Costa by himself or under instruction from DS Techeetah, Vergne said: "I did it myself.
"Because I know Andre very well and everybody knows he had a contract for next year.
"But for the team, nothing was wrong, it was Andre [carrying on]. But then I speak a lot to Andre - [so] I told the team 'guys, Andre has a big chance to leave'.
"They were saying 'no, no, no'. And it was getting quite late so I told the team, 'guys, we're going to have no driver for next year if you keep thinking Andre is going to stay'.
"I talked to Andre at Le Mans - I don't know if he knew it, but the feeling I had was that he was gone. I didn't tell the team back then because they didn't believe me.
"So, I went to see Antonio and I said 'keep it for yourself, but if that happens you have the option and you can think about it and check with your lawyer and everything, if it's doable'.
"Actually the team was very happy to know that Antonio was an option because they were too late otherwise."
Vergne said he moved to get da Costa interested in switching from BMW Andretti because "it's in my own interest have a very quick team-mate next to me, even if he can beat me".
"It's better to work with a guy that is as fast as you - and faster sometimes or a bit slower sometimes - because you can cover more ground in testing and trying things out to end up with a better car than the other guys on race day," continued Verge, who was speaking at DS's promotional E-DS Week in Paris.
"So it was very important. There were no other drivers that were available with Formula E experience.
"There were of course other very good drivers like [DS Techeetah test driver] James Rossiter, who knew the car very well and is a very quick and experienced driver that I have a very good relationship with, but I knew the team wanted to have a different options with a guy that has Formula E experience."
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