The late-season flourish of good qualifying and race performances wasn’t enough to keep Jean-Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso for 2015. According to his Twitter feed:
“Despite a good season and 22 points, I’ll not drive any more for Toro Rosso in 2015,” he posted.
“Thanks for those years. Let’s go for another big challenge.”
JEV is one of those slight enigmas in F1. He was brought through a young-driver program with Red Bull, seemed to do as well as Daniel Ricciardo in the same machinery, was passed up by Red Bull Racing (RBR) to replace Webber, was passed up by RBR to replace Vettel and now has no seat at the junior team.
Clearly one could argue that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a RBR driver in either program. So what is it about JEV that soured his F1 career? To be honest, I thought there were many times this year when he looked terrific and while sometimes a little ragged, he was trying to get a pig of a car up front. That’s not easy.
It must be said that I was patently wrong last year when I thought the team should take a shot with JEV instead of Ricciardo because I thought JEV looked like he had sheer pace. I was completely wrong as Danny has been a sensation in 2014. So as I look at the situation now, is JEV good enough for F1? Is it simply that he doesn’t have enough cash or backing to write checks to keep him in the sport?
Surely JEV is a faster driver than Maldonado but then Pastor won a title and has PDVSA money behind him. Ultimately JEV is yet another victim of a system that regularly sucks up and spits out F1 drivers. Jamie Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi, Jerome D’Ambrosio, Scott Speed, and Sebastien Bourdais to name a few. You can now add JEV to that list and ponder which future reject will take his place in 2015.
The upside? many of these former STR drivers have gone on to nice careers in WEC and other series so look for JEV to re-ignite his career elsewhere. I, for one, will enjoy watching him race.