Vergne to race in Formula E this weekend

2014 F1 season

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Jean-Eric Vergne will make his debut in Formula E at this weekend’s round in Uruguay.

Vergne, who lost his seat at Toro Rosso at the end of this season, will drive alongside fellow former F1 driver Franck Montagny at the Andretti team.

Vergne says he is eagerly anticipating his first experience of the electric single-seater cars at the Punta del Este street circuit on the Atlantic coast.

“Although I have no experience in this new series, I am excited about the prospect of racing in Formula E, and racing for such a prestigious team as Andretti,” said Vergne.

“As always, the main objective of the weekend is to stay out front and finish the year on a high note. The weekend will be a little like a journey into the unknown, but it is a journey that I am thoroughly looking forward to.”

Also among the former Formula One drivers racing in the series are ex-Toro Rosso pilots Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi.

Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld, Takuma Sato, Bruno Senna, Karun Chandhok, Jerome d’Ambrosio, Lucas di Grassi, Stephane Sarrazin, Charles Pic and Nelson Piquet Jnr also race in the series.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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49 comments on “Vergne to race in Formula E this weekend”

  1. The Formula E field is going to end up consisting of all ex-Red Bull drivers before long… Wonder how long it’ll be before we see Vettel there!!

    1. @pukktpie Well, this is what Webber said about Vettel almost a year ago:

      I think Seb will do everything early in life: he’s got his championship titles and his results early, he’s going to have a kid early and I think he’ll retire early – he’ll probably take a blast in the red car, then sayonara…

      1. @girts Ferrari contract signed…. kid is next, then retirement in his early 30s, once the Ferrari dream fades.

        1. @fastiesty he became a father in January/February.

          1. @tmf42 Good point, privacy is working well for him. So we can tick that one off the list! Just disappointment with Ferrari is left… I wonder if he hopes VW will come in and rescue the operation..

          2. @fastiesty VW Group already owns Lambo, not sure they need another Italian marque

          3. @hircus And Bugatti… so true, but at one point it seemed like VW were buying everyone. I’d say a) Audi, b) Bugatti, c) Porsche, d) Lambo for F1..

        2. Vettel likes collecting records. I’d be surprised if he didn’t attempt to emulate Graham Hill and win the triple crown before he retired.

          1. I would actually be very happy for Seb to go for the triple crown…since Juan Pablo came to F1, I’d been hoping that he would go for the triple crown…he can still achieve the “old” definition of it if he goes to Le Mans soon!

    2. Actually when you look at what he mentioned about going to Indycar and where he will be driving (what team) it might be a bit of getting to know eachother, or even an Audition like thing.

      Or it could just be that he wanted to say something about going “over the pond” for Indycar while he was actually talking about Formula E with Andretti off course.

    3. @pukktpie

      Wonder how long it’ll be before we see Vettel there!!

      I think it’ll take a while:

      Formula E? It’s not the future, says Vettel

  2. Formula Has Been

    1. Unfortunately most of the has been’s in this formula are more credible than a lot of this years formula one grid.

      1. Name one that isn’t Max Chilton. And even him fares better than some of the guys in Formula E.

        JEV, Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld, Takuma Sato, Bruno Senna, Karun Chandhok, Jerome d’Ambrosio, Lucas di Grassi, Stephane Sarrazin, Charles Pic and Nelson Piquet Jnr.

        Not the best list in the world. Meanwhile, F1 has a terrific field. Maybe the best we’ve seen in recent years. In 2015 we’ll have very little in terms of pay drivers and a lot in terms of talent. Give them credit.

        1. Sauber will be solely run with pay drivers. Maldonado is still a pay driver. Both Force India drivers bring some sponsorship.

          The only reason why there will be fewer pay drivers on the grid is because there will be fewer cars on the grid. Meanwhile, the actual talent from junior formulae is being edged into sportscars or IndyCar.

          1. @craig-o You can’t count the Force India guys. Every driver brings sponsorship. Even Alonso. And even with Caterham and Marussia, the field was very good.

  3. Formula R(eject)

    1. That’s a tad dismissive of what is actually quite an entertaining series. There’s hundreds of people pushing for seats in F1 and only 20 available.

    2. I think these so called ‘rejects’ will be happy to be in a ‘sport’ where driver skill is more important than who designed their engine. F1 is in a poor state, teams dropping out, drivers losing their seats in their early 20’s because they don’t have enough money, and constant solutions to problems that don’t exist.

  4. I was very impressed with Sam Bird (tested for Mercedes F1 young drivers 2010 Abu Dhabi) in the last race, and you never guess somethings from F1 carry over…there was a Trulli train … Bruno Senna looked good till a mistake..timing of safety cars shuffled the pack a lot and I still have a bad taste towards Nelson Piquet Jnr (some drivers I have found with myself, I cannot forgive).

    Gook luck to Vergne in the race, I hope he makes a good impression and gets to carry on his racing career in something like this, he gave it a go in F1 and I like that.

    1. From what I saw in the last Formula E race, you had a good reason to be impressed with Sam Bird. I don’t know what he figured out, but he was destroying the field in a spec car!

  5. God dammit! I wanted to go but well, bills and stuff got in the way. Ironically, the most expensive is the electricity bill.
    Oh well, at least it’ll be on public TV. And in HD.

  6. I hope the series thrives. Right now I don’t really enjoy watching it(the cars are slow, the circuits are awful, the terrible music and the push-to-pass gimmick especially) but it seems to have potential. There is a huge number of ex-F1 drivers already which makes it more relatable and gives more legitimacy to it. Here’s hoping the speeds improve and the series eventually grows onto bigger, more driver-oriented circuits. I am looking forward to the possibilities.

    1. Couldn’t agree more: what I found under the announcement on the Formula E page … sigh …

      “To give a FanBoost vote to Jean-Eric Vergne or any of the Formula E drivers click here”

  7. You are missing the point here guys. Andretti is big IndyCar team as well. And Vergne has already said that he is interested in IndyCar. Maybe an indication that he is part of their racing family and the 4th driver for Andretti Autosport for next season?

    1. Yes, hopefully this is a path to IndyCar. I like the ideas and principles of Formula E, but it’s hard to get excited about cars not even going 200kph. A bunch of great drivers in a bunch of slow cars :(

      1. Why do people keep mentioning the speed, this is brand new technology being used for racing, expect to see these cars pick up the speed when the tech. evolves.

        We have seen two races, and two times we saw some decent racing. I’m pumped for this weekends race, especially now Vergne is joining in.

        1. Because it’s boring to watch race cars that look like they are going 50kph, and having to switch cars is silly. Like I said, I like the ideas of Formula E and hope it becomes a successful series, but I can’t find myself watching until the technology has caught up a bit.

        2. Agreed. I really enjoyed the first two races and I’m looking forward to this one!

    2. @sushant008 I find this unlikely since unlike Buemi and especially Alguersuari, Vergne is leaving the paddock a very well-regarded racing driver, and remains in contention for non-racing roles with other teams. Put simply, whilst it is unlikely that Vergne will return to the grid, it is not inconceivable, and I doubt JEV will sacrifice this small chance for a career in the states (this was also a factor in di Resta choosing DTM over IndyCar) when he can quite easily dovetail a non-racing F1 role with a career in the World Endurance Championship. Leaving F1 is one thing, leaving European-centric motorsport is quite another.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        9th December 2014, 13:03

        I disagree @countrygent. I think Vergne can look at Di Resta’s situation and see that in retrospect he should have bitten Chip Ganassis hand off. Di Resta is now essentially an alsoran in a domestic touring car series who’s f1 drive is never coming back. I can think of 10 upstarts i would put in the car before hiring back Di Resta. Even if the worst happened and Hamberg crashed into one another violently, I reckon we would see the like of Hulk and Bottas move up and the Vandoornes and Marciellos of the circus replace them. Vergne should be heading off to America to prove Marko wrong, not sitting in a simulator hoping someone hurts themselves mid season.

        1. @fullcoursecaution The di Resta metaphor was a casual one, in reality Vergne and di Resta have very different circumstances surrounding their careers. Paul was trying to maintain his ties to Mercedes, and by entering their DTM programme and becoming their reserve driver he had, on paper, a decent chance of returning to F1 with a Mercedes engined team…until he was undercut by Pascal Wehrlein.

          JEV has no such ties to adhere to, and in being a free agent he is a) not obliged to run in particular series, so will almost certainly find himself a drive in the WEC, and b) can openly forge new associations. Not knowing that younger DTM drivers Wehrlein, Juncadella and Merhi would become genuine contenders for F1 seats with Mercedes’ DTM programme in no way connected to its F1 programme twelve months ago, the decision for di Resta was a logical one, albeit I would imagine Paul now regrets the extensive efforts he made to maintain now defunct Mercedes ties.

          But I still doubt he would have accepted the Ganassi offer even in retrospect because had he spent the past twelve months chasing sponsors and assembling a budget, he could have had a signed F1 contract by now; his track record in F1 is certainly good enough to make him a credible investment for sponsors. Put simply, F1 is always the target, and it is only when there is no hope and with a heavy heart that transatlantic approaches are made; something Luca Filippi, Luis Razia, Jack Harvey, Daniel Abt and Davide Valsecchi know only too well.

  8. …meh..

    In the likely case JEV gets the Fan(tastic, another bleedin’ gimmick in FIA motorsport) Boost, he will not be receiving any support from me. Making the nature of the competition fundamentally illegitimate is certainly an odd way of interpreting fan appeasement…and why the music? Does Todt not want anyone older than twenty-five to watch it?…rant over.

    1. Todt made a deal with Bernie not to steal any F1 fans and pry them to Formula E. The music was a success, nobody wearing a Rolex was reportedly watching the first two races. :) @countrygent

  9. Awesome news! :) Pleased for him. It’s proved to be a great series so far and Vergne thoroughly deserves a chance if he’s going to miss out in F1.

  10. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    8th December 2014, 20:04

    Formula Ex

  11. Yay! Formula Milk Float!

    1. My local milk float is a diesel, was so disappointed when I saw it go flying down the street faster than most cars…

  12. Only when people take in that Formula E isn’t about finding the fastest team and driver will they start to learn what it’s about. Formula E was set-up to promote electric motor development and prove that there is a big enough fanbase for it so big manufacturers start to develop their own technology. It isn’t about crowning the best driver or competing among the fairest set of rules. Using Fan Boost for example, while completely unfair, has been created for fans to interact with the sport and to get them talking. If you try to learn about Formula E thinking it’s about competition or prestige, you’re not looking at it right. It’s a technological test bed and a promotion ground for green energy, thats it.

    1. And yet in my personal opinion the racing is currently better than in F1 especially when you consider the last two tracks. I’d love to see these cars on a proper track or at least at the same street circuits that F1 uses.

      1. I have a feeling that with current speeds, they’re intentionally staying away from traditional tracks (the Donington Park test being an exception, and only a test) because a lap time comparison would reflect badly.

    2. @olliekart – Imagine what folks must have said about F1 in its infancy, if they had even ever heard of it. I think you are right that it is about the technology more than the racing, but thank goodness, it still is racing! It is a brilliant idea at just the right time and it will keep getting better as it grows. I’m still hoping that Tesla will get involved at some point though it isn’t likely under current regulations.

  13. Is there any race sit left for Button? It’s quite urgent.

  14. I’m glad to this. :)

  15. Awesome.

    I’m loving Formula E. Brilliant series, huge future.
    Will be great to see JEV, a driver who I regard slightly higher than the recent F1F driver ranking of 16, battling it out in a toppish team.

  16. I know who im going to vote for fanboost. Not JEV

  17. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    9th December 2014, 13:13

    Does anyone else think the car-swapping is completely dumb?
    Why not have a series of sprints like the Nascar allstar race? Say 3 back to back 15-lap sprints, with points paid out at the end of each sprint, with abudouble points for the final positions of course.
    This way they could swap cars between sprints without this minimum pit-time nonsense, Jarno wont have to worry about his artritis, and the racing will stay close and exciting. Sham-boost would also be more relevant as the cars would be packed tighter, and they could milk it with more voting between each sprint.

    1. A battery swap without swapping the entire car would be reasonable too. And road-relevant.

  18. Jumping in the car without any experience, putting it on pole from the 1st group immediately. Amazing.

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