Jean-Éric Vergne

Well I've been talking him up a lot on other threads so I thought I'd finally give next years youngest driver(unless HRT shock us) his own thread. Jean-Eric Vergne or JEV for short. All jokes concerning journeying to the centre of the earth are indeed welcome. The third new Frenchmen on the grid and certainly the one I see as having the most potential.

Just to make us all feel old JEV didn't get into single seater racing until 2007 where at the age of 17 he raced in the French Formula Renault Campus. Not only did he race in it but he won it by a country mile finishing on the podium 10 times in 13 races. It certainly made him stand out and his was signed to the Red Bull Junior Team on the back of it. He also became a member of the French Automobile Sport Federation (FFSA) who have done a sterling job of bring thorugh French drivers of late. Basically after one years single seater racing Vergne was part of 2 organisations that were heavily pushing him towards F1. He still had to get the results though. In 2008 and 2009 he drove in the Formula Renault 2.0 competitions winning rookie of the year in 2008 and finishing close runner-up in 2009 losing out to a Spaniard of the same age named Albert Costa. Not the Tennis player apparently.

In 2010 Vergne took the big leap of moving to the British Formula 3 Championship to become one of 6 drivers for the Carlin team. The move paid off big time as he won 12 of the 30 rounds to take himself to the title. He won all 3 rounds on the same day at Spa marking himself as bit of a specialist round the old track. He was the third Red Bull Junior driver in a row to take the title following in the footsteps of Alguersauri and Ricciardo.

Continuing the Red Bull route Vergne moved into Formula Renault 3.5 for 2011 once again racing for Carlin. He'd actually took part in the final 3 rounds (6 races) for Tech 1 in 2010 where he'd took to the series amazingly quickly scoring 5 podiums one of which was a win. This form carried on into 2011 and he and his Carlin team-mate Robert Wickens pulled clear of the field eventually despite the strong challenge of Alexander Rossi and Albert Costa and the 2 took the title right down to the wire and the final race. Vergne was 2 popint behind Wickens going into the final race and the two collided on thefirst lap. Wickens retired and Vergne carried on and it looked like he was about clinch the tilte when he himself whilst lapping Fairuz Fauzy thus handing the title to Robert Wickens. Incidentally his new team-mate Danial Ricciardo took part in 12 of the 18 rounds and only managed to finish in front of Vergne 3 times.

As for Formula One experience JEV drove and F1 car for the first time at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2010 before driving the Toro Rosso at the Abu Dhabi young drivers test in 2010. He then did Friday practice sessions for Toro Rosso in 2011. At Abu Dhabi he was 0.3 seconds off the pace of Alguersauri which probably helped his eventual choice as Toro Rosso driver. What certainly helped was his 3 days in the RB7 at Abu Dhabi where he set the fastest time of anyone(by a clear margain) each day.

Whilst there has been a lot of people upset by the replacement of Buemi and Alguersauri at Toro Rosso I don't feel this should be reflected on to Jean-Eric. He has won titles, races and awards in every cateogry he's raced in and usually right from the begining. His raise to F1 has been quick but there is no doubt in my head that its deserved. Personally I think Vergne's awesome form last year and the way he conducted himself in the young drivers test gave Red Bull no choice but to take a chance on him. Since 2010 they've had Ricciardo penciled in as the next big thing and Vergne came along last year and made them doubt that so I think they couldn't put Ricciardo in without giving Vergne a shot too and its certainly going to be interesting to see what he makes of it. Theres no doubt from looking at the record for his junior career though that it can almost be viewed as Vettel-esqe - we can only see if he continues that in F1.

Jean-Eric Vergne is actually the first of a bunch of drivers who have been moving through the levels of Motor-sport together who are likely to make up a good part of the F1 grid. I personally can't wait to see Robert Wickens in an F1 car and with Alexander Rossi, James Caledo and Albert Costa all gradually making their way through too for me they are the next 'golden-age' after the last spurt of Rosberg, Kubica, Hamilton, Vettel and co. Vergne to me is at the head of that and after seeing the way he performed in the 3.5 series I'm going to stick my neck out and say he will be the guy that Red Bull chose to replace Mark Webber and in a season or two we could see him rock the boat at Red Bull and give Mr Vettel a team-mate to worry about.

So there you go - I've stuck my neck out and I'm fully prepared for you lot to hit me over the head with it when I prove to be utterly utterly wrong. Anyone else have high hopes or even low expectations?
I was definitely impressed by Vergne in the World Series last year, and I think you're right in saying that if Red Bull were going to give Ricciardo a chance, they had to do the same for JEV, as he soundly beat Danny boy in most of the races in which they contested together.

As for him being a future match for Seb, we'll have to wait and see. And I'll bypass the Center of the Earth jokes for now, but I can't make any promises about 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which is what he'd be if Buemi had any choice in the matter.
Just on the Vettel comparisons, you're saying he was beaten by Wickens last year. Are we going to hear about that ad infinitum if Vergne is successful LOL ?

Toro Rosso is one of the Holy Trinity of interesting intra-team battles next season (with Red Bull McLaren and Force India) and Ricciardo will be worried about Vergne's previous form. Vive les pilotes français!
I for some reason think he will walk over Ricciardo.

Just don't think Ricciardo is as good as he's made out to be as his junior record isn't that great, while Vergne's is supreme, Vergne has aggression, Ricciardo doesn't.

I would have liked them to have done GP2, well Ricciardo anyway as Vergne seems like a proven talent.

But having a great junior record isn't everything though.
I gave Ricciardo a round of applause last week so seems only fair Mr Vergne should get one this week. Solid drive - kept it on track in inters to get himself track position and although a Di Resta and Senna went past him he did a solid job to make sure he brought the Toro Rosso home in only his second F1 race in his very first race in Sepang and probably anything like those conditions.

Well done chap now lets see if you can do better for rest of season
Very surprised to see that JEV escaped a penalty for running a red light yesterday. I guess those Bahraini's are just an understanding people.

he instantly stopped the car and the team wheeled him back up on the jacks. I guess they decided that was fair enough and told him to be careful next time
Poor old Jean-Eric at Monaco. I can sort of understand why the team chose to take the gamble but it was a sucky end to a great recovery drive - Not quite sure why more didn't take a gamble like him and dive in for an early stop rather than get stuck behind the Kovi train.

I think Mr Vergne has been quietly impressive in the first six races - anyone got a view on him? I'd say he was a nose in front of Ricciardo at the moment just on race craft.
Buemi not Alguersuari.

Infact Ricciardo's only finished ahead of Vergne once in the race this season, and that was in Australia due to the last lap schbang.

I doubt a year would have hurt the team or their previous drivers, would have just made them stronger.
Jean looks like a poor qualifier, his racing hasnt set the world alight either, should have kept Alguesuari

Very hard to 'set the world alight' in this years Toro Rosso Jos. He's stuck it to his team-mate nearly every race - in front of him on points and but for a strategy gamble would have had a good 7th place in Monaco. I agree he needs to sort his quali out but lets remember its his first year. I don't think he's doing too badly and I'd take him over Alguersauri I'm afraid. Whether his team-mate should be Buemi is of course another question.
He wouldn't have had 7th in Monaco, as he had to pit anyway due to doing two stints on the soft tyres and not running the super softs.
A word for JEV after the Korean GP as he finally started showing some of that potential he has. Sone great overtaking and some great defensive driving too and he didn't have to hit anyone or pull any dangerous moves to do it. Hopefully he can carry the form on for rest of tge season.
JEV has described the new Pirreli tyres as 'being like Cauliflowers' but then goes on to say that they suit his style and should help him with his problems in quali. Thats where you were going wong last year Torro Rosso, You should have been putting veg on the car not tyres!

I notice I'm the only on in TMP to have plumped for JEV. I still quite rate him after watching him in the world series. Needs to show something this year though.
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