While being let go from Toro Rosso was not a positive thing for Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne, it seems he’s finding new roles as a Formula E driver and now a Ferrari F1 test driver. The team recently announced the hiring of Mexican Esteban Gutierrez as a test driver as well.
The Gutierrez connection became slightly clearer as the team then announced a new sponsor in Telmex which has been a supporter of Esteban’s during his racing career.
At some level, you can identify with the changes as having hybrid-relevancy may be a big asset to the team and both drivers have plenty of that. Perhaps the Gutierrez backing from Telmex has more to do with it than the hybrid experience but I have not read that JEV has come to the team with significant backing yet.
The rest of the driver line-up consists of the race pairing of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, along with test and third driver Esteban Gutiérrez, while Marc Genè and Davide Rigon are confirmed in the role of test drivers.
Pedro de la Rosa leaves the Scuderia at the end of this year after serving faithfully for the last two years in the test driver role.
“On behalf of the entire team, I welcome Jean-Eric, who I’m sure will make an important contribution to our development work in the simulator,” commented Scuderia Ferrari Director General and Team Principal, Maurizio Arrivabene. “He will fit in to a programme aimed at improving important areas, invigorating and strengthening an already strong and capable group of professionals.”
“I feel very honored to be joining the Ferrari family and becoming a part of the most prestigious team in the history of Formula One,” commented Jean-Eric Vergne. “The objective is a unanimous one and that is to help the Scuderia get back to the top step of the podium. Having had two years working in the simulator for a top F1 team and three years racing with Toro Rosso, my experience will add to the great efforts that are currently being made in order to get the team back to its winning ways. I look forward to fulfilling my dream in becoming a member of the Ferrari Formula One team and having the Tifosi behind me every step of the way.”