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?
soccerman17 Yes as I am sure others will agree because Algarsuari's results are not that much different from Vergne or Ricciardo's and he was even younger

Unfortunately one man calls the shots and his name is " the Dark Lord" Helmut Marko as he lines up the next apprentice starting with Vettel then Ricciardo and then Kyvat so next will be ?

Its a brutal way but every driver knew what they were getting into when they signed on the programme

I agree the disposed drivers have not really recovered like poor Liuzzi

Timing is always key .. Helmut spent so long trying to force Webber who thought he was the immovable object until the forces were totally overwhelming against him to the point he had to quit. Had Webber won 2010 drivers title he probably would have retired 2011 and Alguarsuari or Buemi would have been promoted then.

This time in Vergne's case he was given a second life and am afraid Helmut showed no mercy in his decision
\it might not be a bad idea by JEV to sign up for Formula E next season and prove he is still a fast racing driver because he's hardly getting any track time at Ferrari and internal sponsor pressures could force Ferrari to field Gutierrez who is an inferior driver for now
....and about 50 different sponsors queing up to get their name associated with Ferrari if they need them.

Gutteriez is being linked to Haas due to Haas link to Mexico and Ferrari. He's not being pushed by Ferrari to be signed up by Haas.

from all account Gutteriez is exceptionally good on set up and development which is probably another reason he's being courted. Think of him as this generations Pedro De La Rosa.
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RasputinLives Ferrari did entice Mexican sponsorship. We don't know the ins and outs but if the Mexican sponsorship came with a huge backing then there is probably expectancy to field Gutierrez to please them

A way for Ferrari to get around this is make Haas them field him instead in return for the Ferrari partnership and kill two birds with one stone. I don't see JEV getting his chance at Ferrari even if Raikkonen suddenly quit
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