Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, Interlagos, 2014

Vergne appointed Ferrari tester as De la Rosa leaves

2014 F1 season

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Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, Interlagos, 2014Ferrari have announced further changes to their test driver line-up with Jean-Eric Vergne joining the team.

Vergne, who was dropped by Toro Rosso at the end of the season, will develop the car in the team’s simulator. He will take over from Pedro de la Rosa, who is leaving after two years at Ferrari.

Vergne said he was “very honoured” to be joining “the most prestigious team in the history of Formula One”.

“The objective is a unanimous one and that is to help the Scuderia get back to the top step of the podium,” he added. “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.”

Marc Gene and Davide Rigon will continue in their test driver roles.

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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 appointed Ferrari tester as De la Rosa leaves”

  1. I’m happy for him but I wonder if this allows him to race in Indycar as well… Doesn’t look realistic sadly, so I hope he’ll find a race seat somewhere, maybe an AF Corse Ferrari for the World Endurance Championship.

    1. Or maybe a driver for Haas F1 in 2016? This feels like he is positioning himself for that seat.

      1. Haas does want a driver with experience in the current regulations and JEV fits the bill. (And that’s if we keep the current regs). It at least keeps Vergne’s foot firmly placed in the door in the sport, unlike some drivers in the past- Heikki Kovalainen etc.

        1. Looks like an option, yes. Vergne will be well invested in Ferrari tech, certainly an positive for a Ferrari engined/engineered Haas. And if he can keep doing some racing next to it to keep him sharp it would be nice.

    2. I think Gené raced for Peugeot at the LM24 while being a tester for Ferrari. I don’t believe it’d be impossible to see him driving an Andretti IndyCar next year. Plus, the IndyCar calendar is quite short in time, although not in races (there are a lot packed in consecutive weekends, with double headers).
      I think he’s doing a Kobayashi and waiting for some team to notice him. The Haas possibility @eoin16 mentioned is realistic, though I still expect Marciello and Rossi to drive for them.

      1. Gené has done the past 3 LM24s for Audi, too. Rigon is also a full-time WEC driver for AF Corse, so Ferrari do let their test drivers have fun elsewhere.

        Having said that, though, I really cannot see how he could do the full IndyCar season as well. It’s one thing to be doing Formula E and WEC alongside Ferrari F1 commitments, what with the spread out calendars. But while IndyCar’s season is short, it’s very intense. He’d have to relocate to the States and would be pretty much unusable for Ferrari for half the F1 season. It’s far too big of a commitment for Ferrari to allow. At absolute best I could see him perhaps doing just the Indy GP for Andretti, like Montagny did in 2014.

        1. @jackysteeg And it’s not like there’s a shortage of drivers trying to get into Indycar. Vergne might be best served by ‘staying relevant’ in a European based series, while picking up more experience at Ferrari. Continuing in Formula E (and dominating there) or trying out the WEC might be better than any stint in Indycar.

      2. @Jackysteeg Or maybe even Gutierrez. I still think he’s in a prime position to be the lead driver at Haas in 2016. He’s got money, hes been driving Ferrari powered cars throughtout F1 and now he’s a test driver for Ferrari itself. I reckon having Telmex and Claro as the title sponsors on Haas will look really nice in my opinion

        1. Crap wrong person I tagged in. It’s supposed to be @carlitox

        2. good point @mattypf1. Guttierez would help get Haas a following in Mexico, which surely could be a good market to start with expanding into.

        3. Mark in Florida
          23rd December 2014, 21:21

          I don’t think Gene needs the money. He is going to pick a driver that will appeal to the American market to bring in more stateside fans. As to whoever else he has to drive for him it will have to be a established driver that can at least score some points when the opportunity presents itself.

      3. The problem with Marciello and Rossi is the lack of F1 racing experience. I think the obligation of running an American driver may diminish if Ferrari say “here’s Marciello, Vergne and Gutierrez – take your pick of two”.

        @mattpf1 raised a point I hadn’t thought of before regarding the Mexican sponsors. That would be a nice tie-in and would help in gaining supporters from neighbouring Mexico. Both that and the Vergne suggestions a most definitely viable in my opinion.

        1. @mattypf1 *I’m terrible at tagging names!

  2. Does he share seat with Guti?

  3. I’m not happy to see this, it seems like a dead end role to me. I hate seeing drivers waste away in the dark holes of F1, when there are so many seats in so many different series they could have success in.

    1. @stabel91 A simulator role doesn’t preclude JEV from racing in other series though

    2. I think he believes Ferrari will consider him to replace Kimi in 2016…

    3. Its better to be a relevant tester driver in Ferrari than, say, another reject at Formula E. When Kimi quits, he will have a good chance at replacing him; there are a lot of Ferraris in WEC; depending on his contract with Ferrari, he could buy time to get sponsoring.

      1. He can do both things, as calendars are compatible. The quality of racing in FE is already better than in F1 and the level of drivers is also good, including several wasted F1 talents (not rejects!). Vergne is only the last F1 wasted talent that FE welcomes. Probably the best of them, as his form is at its best, coming from 3 competitive F1 seasons.

  4. So, is De la Rosa returning to Mclaren?

    1. Good question. Getting him from McLaren was seen as a coup for the scuderia at the time.

    2. @rf4p Could be… McLaren know him well. They’ve lost Gary Paffett, but the question is is there a place for him now alongside Oliver Turvey, Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne (who has even raced in online sim-racing competition), when he is not on GP2 duty.

    3. He is…. Spanish press rumour though.

    4. Probably. He’ll fit well with the senior citizen’s home they have at McLaren.

    5. Wasn’t the Cochlan’s Ferrari document known to PDlR and told about in spanish emails to Alonso.
      I wouldn’t have thought Mclaren wanted more spanish conspiracies floating around!

      1. the most silly thing I ever heard

    6. If i was Haas i will be picking the phone right now and asking for Pedro’s help. The guy is a very experience simulator developer and test driver and certainly there is some useful feedback he can provide for a new team.

  5. Probably the best offer in F1 that was left, and if Kimi can’t walk a straight line or his salary is late, maybe even a very unlikely racing possibility.

    1. Gutierrez is third driver, Vergne isn’t.

      1. Judging by the last several cases of a reserve driver being needed, the reserve driver doesn’t get the race seat.

    2. Gutierrez is test and reserve driver.

      Vergne is merely a test driver, like Marc Gené and Davide Rigon …

      Vergne, always in Vettel’s shadow sadly …

      1. “Reserve driver” doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Just ask Davide Valsecchi.

        1. It means much when your sponsors logo’s are on the car. Gutierrez WILL be in that car if anything happens to anyone of the drivers.

  6. I wonder if Vettel put in a good word for him

  7. I think it’s great news, as long as he keeps racing in one form or another. His first appearance in Formula E was fantastic, putting the car on pole in his first time out! He might be getting paid more than when he was racing now too…

  8. What a waste of a talented racer. The one saving grace is that Ferrari has a presence in the World Endurance Championship.

  9. How many test drivers are actually required for a sport that doesn’t do much testing any more?

    Is it just a case of as many drivers as they can find computers for?

    1. If there was still testing, Vergne would have a 9-5 job at Fiorano.

  10. I am pleased JEV has managed to obtain some role in F1. I’m disappointed he did not get a race drive but who knows he may in the future. I think he is better than Guttierez but then I expect he owes his place to the sponsorship income he brings in, regrettably.

  11. Are the big teams, starting to prepare in case of 3 car teams now?

    (As they know they don’t want to share the pie, or compromise and maybe the way it is heading)

  12. This apparently doesn’t put an end to his driving in Formula E or his possible Indycar plans.

    http://www.racer.com/indycar/item/111910-indycar-new-ferrari-f1-role-won-t-limit-vergne-s-u-s-chances

  13. I predict they’ll make him team principal. Everybody else has had a go.

    Wonder who Williams will go for (to replace Nasr)? Quite a few people linked JEV with them.

    1. Williams could replace Massa with another paydriver.

  14. I hope one day young drivers will be honest with themselve and realise when they are no F1 material. This of course doens’t mean they can’t be top drivers in any other series. A win in Indycars, WEC, WRC, WTCC above some points in F1 any day of the week. Vergne has talent enough to land himself a good seat in for example FE rather than this dead end thingy, ask Frijns if you as me.

  15. Does he not looking for racing team in another category?

  16. Ferrari Senior Team?

    Suppose if the Haas thing/other F1 opportunities don’t work out, Vergne could go the route Kobayashi did, GT2 Ferrari in WEC, aiming a little higher if they decide to go the LMP1 route some time in the future.

  17. I get the feeling he will race with GUT in Haas for 2016, whoever really impress gets Raikkonen seat.

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