Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, Singapore, 2014

Vergne: Red Bull promised me Vettel’s seat in 2014

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Jean-Eric Vergne reveals Red Bull had told him he would take Sebastian Vettel’s place if he left the team in 2014.

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Forcing drivers to make at least one pit stop reduces their strategic options, says Miane:

The real problem is in the rules that are limiting the strategy factor. You can’t complete a race using just one harder tyre, why use them? The rule enforcement to change tyres converge everyone to use softer tyres and plays the same strategy.

It would be nice to a good driver/car starting from the bottom and doing a one-stop strategy (or don’t going to pit at all) and getting to good results.

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On this day in F1

  • Fangio won the Monaco GP today in 1957 after Moss, Collins and Hawthorn all crashed.

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  • 78 comments on “Vergne: Red Bull promised me Vettel’s seat in 2014”

    1. Would have liked to see JEV get a ride in RB. Don’t think he would have stuffed it like DK. But that would have had MV still driving TR.

      1. Funnily enough if JEV took the seat, or if Kvyat didn’t stuff up I’d say Max would be driving a Mercedes now.

        Part of Maxs mid season promotion was in response to threats from Jos.

        1. Max at Merc would have made for a helluva season!

          Can you imagine the amount of toys that would get thrown out the proverbial prams! Toto would have grown a few more grey hairs!

          I doubt Merc would have gone with Max with Lewis in the team. They seem to be quite intent on not upsetting the balance in the team. Bottas was the perfect replacement for Rosberg. I’m sure Merc had it written up as a risk assessed contingency plan.

          1. Yes can understand that given hes at Red Bull, but had it gone down based on the above he would of been a Toro Rosso driver with zero victories, just like Carlos Sainz Jnr.

            It was always a battle between Red Bull and Mercedes signature, and I doubt Mercedes would be signing him to not have him race.

          2. I`d say you`re wrong. By now any top team With the opportunity to sign Verstappen would have done so without consulting their excisting drivers. They all know Verstappen is the future, if their excisting top driver would have a problem they would be happy to let them go. They wouldn`t need them anymore as Verstappen would be able to deliver what they need.

            Verstappen outshone Sainz, which in my opinion is one of the best drivers we`ve seen for quite a while. Now he`s in the process of cutting Ricciardo down to size. Considering Ricciardo is also among the very best I have no doubt both Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel would have struggled to live side by side with Verstappen in the same team. He takes significant steps each and every year, I allready think he`d have the measure of all the other top drivers if driving the same car.

      2. If VER got VET’s seat then VER would still have lost his seat to VER although VER would still be called VES ;)

        1. Or what may have happened is for JEV or DR, who ever did worse. Shunted to Merc when the seat became available so they could promote MV.

          1. pastaman (@)
            19th May 2017, 15:52

            He’s making a joke

      3. I always thought he should have taken the RB seat instead of RIC but hey, we’ll never know.

    2. Re COTD, the main thing to consider is that teams generally converge on the fastest way through a race. Three to no stop races could be fun to watch but the teams would soon figure out the rules and all be doing a mix of 0 and 1 stops depending on track position (assuming the tyres allowed them to do 0 stop races)

      1. @cavman99, but at least there would be opportunity for surprise strategy changes rather than the current situation of mandated use of a slow tyre shaping the strategy as well as fast tyres still being unable to stand up to continuous close racing.

      2. @cavman99 I think it would be nice to see some drivers trying a 0-stop strategy. Due to the rain and the early switch to slicks in the Chinese Grand Prix the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers intended to complete almost the full race distance on one set of tires, which could have been interesting I think. However, in the end they decided that the tires wouldn’t last, so they still had to pit. However, so far this season the mandatory tire change hasn’t been as bad as I thought. Only in Australia and Russia it forced drivers into similar strategies. In Spain it actually made the race better I think.

      3. Best way to mix it up – choose your tyres for the weekend from ANY of the compounds (do not restricted the teams to 3 choices) and do not have a manditory “tyre” that needs to be run. Then leave them to decide between zero and whatever pitstops….

        The leaders can’t go to hard to make a one stop at the risk of starting too low on the grid…..

    3. Racerdude7730
      19th May 2017, 1:01

      This may not be about the topics but anyone have predictions on Monaco with Mercedes and Ferrari. I hear with the long wheel base Mercedes isn’t so good in the tight corners so I’m thinking Ferrari have a good shot but last week and Mercedes were doing really well in S3 I’m not sure what to think. Any thoughts?

      1. Racerdude7730
        19th May 2017, 1:03

        Hope no one minds I like straight up racing talk from time to time rather then stories of people complaining or some sorta drama

      2. Sector 3 in Catalunya is the closest to Monaco, and Mercedes were better in that sector than Ferrari; therefore I expect Mercedes to do well. With regards to the long wheel base, I wonder how difficult the hair-pin and the swimming pool sections will be for them?

      3. Wheel base has no impact on Monaco. Long and short have both won here.

        1. Racerdude7730
          19th May 2017, 2:54

          True I just wasn’t sure because I was reading and heard some people saying I’m the news the long wheel base was hurting them in tight turns

          1. I also read (joesaward blog, I think) that the revised merc already has a shorter wheelbase. But I couldn’t find confirmation of this on any of the techier blogs.

      4. They shortened the wheelbase in the Catalunya upgrade

    4. I know Claire Williams isn’t going to come out and bag their own driver, but these comments aren’t doing her or the team any favors.

      Everyone has a selling price I suppose…

    5. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      19th May 2017, 1:17

      “He’s proving he’s more than capable and more than deserving of a seat in Formula 1.”

      … Seriously?

      1. Sure. Laurence has given $25 million to Williams over the past 18 months and there’s plenty more where that came from. So yes, in the current business model of F1 Lance is “more than deserving of a seat in Formula 1.”

      2. … compared with past Williams drivers like Pastor, sure. ;)

        1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
          19th May 2017, 15:00

          The almighty Pastor who happens to be the last Williams driver to win a race?

      3. I’d describe him as ‘barely capable’ myself. As for deserving a seat…well he did win the F3 championship, same as Ocon and more than Verstappen…

        You could make the same argument for Maldonado funnily enough, sure he was a menace but he was also GP2 champion.

    6. I honestly still think that Lance Stroll is good enough for F1 & I still don’t totally get the levels of hate & in cases people seemingly wanting him to fail that we are seeing.

      Yeah fine he’s had a few struggles & made 1-2 little mistakes, But he’s also shown some very good pace which highlights the potential that I believe he has to have a good F1 career. I think there is perhaps an argument to be made that he was brought to F1 too soon but given time to learn & experience to build off I honestly can see him improving.

      His junior career shows that he’s got a lot of talent, He’s won a lot of races & 3 championships (Go back & watch last year’s FIA F3 season, He was fast, Consistent, Made very few mistakes & in a few races was totally dominant) & you don’t do any of that unless your good.

      If his family didn’t have money & he wasn’t labelled as a pay driver yet had the exact same junior career I honestly don’t think he would be getting even a fraction of the hate he has been getting. I mean let us look at his junior career & compare it to fellow F1 rookie Stoffel Vandoorne, Lance has done 4 season’s less through his junior career yet like Vandoorne won 3 championships & only 5 races less (26 for Lance, 31 for Stoffel), Hardly the signs of the awful driver his critics label him as.

      1. You can actually go back & watch last year’s FIA F3 season, Lance showed plenty of talent & ability…. Hardly the signs of the awful, undeserving driver many here claim.

      2. LyndaMarks
        19th May 2017, 1:54

        i actually agree with a lot of that.
        i didn’t know anything about stroll before he got the williams drive so all i knew of him was the complaints & the pay driver label many gave him on this site.
        over the winter break however i did watch the f3 races from last year & came away from them actually been rather impressed with him and the performance he showed through that year on his way to the season title. can’t quite remember which race it was (Spa maybe?) where he started low down the grid yet did a great race to come through the field to get the win with some very good overtakes.

      3. Fukobayashi (@)
        19th May 2017, 7:53

        @PeterG he should have at least done a stint in what was GP2. Unfortunately he’s come into the sport on the heels of Max Verstappen so the bar for teenage prodigy’s is set high.

        He is underperforming mate.

        1. Is he underperforming for an 18 year old coming into F1 now that the cars have been made harder to drive, by design, compared to the delta time running conserving cars Max drove in his first year?

          I think what we are seeing in LS is much closer to normal for how F1 is now and should be, than for him to have come in and aced it and made F1 look easy.

          Saying he should have spent more time in ‘GP2’…well that’s on Williams for taking him in when they did, not on LS. As if he and his Dad were going to pass on the opportunity. As if they could see ahead how his first races would go.

          If the cars were like they have been until this year, he’d be trundling along just fine, unable to push to any sort of limits, looking absolutely in control and ready for F1…F1 lite that is. Thank goodness F1 is harder now. Lance might end up the better for it having to break the ice in a challenging setting, as it should be. Sounds like half his problem is the pressure he is putting on himself, and that’s as it should be too.

      4. “Good enough” just isn’t good enough in a sport that is supposed to be the pinnacle of motor racing. The kid had how many laps at Catalunya in pre-season testing? And he still finished behind his ageing team-mate who had to nurse the car back to the pits on lap 1. Even that’s not “good enough”. He fights the steering wheel like nobody else and, like Palmer, if he actually qualified close to the pace of his team-mate, it’s unlikely he would have been involved in any of the incidents he’s arguably been the victim of (i.e. China and Bahrain).

        I really hope he begins to turn things around and prove me wrong, it is still early days. But I don’t want to see a grid of 20 “good enough” drivers. We want to see more of the young Hamiltons, Vettels, Alonsos and Verstappens, whether they’re pay drivers or not.

      5. Doing well in junior formulae is irrelevant as to whether a driver should be kept in F1. Surely the guy should be allowed to prove he’s one of the 20 best drivers in the world with a full season but so far he’s only been embarrassing (and Stoffel needs to step up his game too – although he’s had an horrible car, is compared to Alonso and has made far less errors).

        1. @spoutnik I think saying he’s been embarrassing is a bit over the top as it’s not as if he’s really made that many mistakes or been that far off the pace.

          Yuji Ide was embarrassing, Luca Badoer’s 2 races in 2009 was embarrassing…. Lance Stroll really hasn’t been anywhere near been that bad & has never looked like he’s going to be.

          1. @stefmeister indeed embarrassing is a bit harsh but he’s got a pretty decent car and should at least equal his well-off-the-pace teammate. He had some bad luck also but what I saw was not much encouraging so far. Definitely not ready for F1 yet. I hope he won’t waste his chance.

    7. Realistically what can Massa say? He is a savvy veteran of the sport and knows this interviewer’s dance. Always the ultimate teammate and team player in every possible situation even when it has disadvantaged himself in the past. Williams and Stroll are lucky he came back.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        19th May 2017, 13:04

        Not as lucky as Bottas. Ultimate team player as you say. Came back after a perfect send-off so his (ex)teammate could have his big chance. At least that’s how I read it

    8. I loved Alonso’s article.

      1. @selbbin have you been following the Indy 500 test?

        You should know by now that his name has changed to Alounzo

    9. “Never believe anything or anyone”. That’s quite obvious when you reach the top of any sort of business. No one would drop one of their drivers while telling him “you’d be first choice if our main star leaves”. That’s kind of ridiculous, really. Red Bull doesn’t owe JEV anything.

      1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        19th May 2017, 4:38

        RBR clearly has the most ruthless junior programme among all the teams, and it is surprising that JEV didn’t pick up on that while he was driving for them, and especially after they dropped far more talented drivers such as Bourdais and Buemi.

      2. I guess they Wherlein

        *puts on sunglasses, walks off*

        1. Aaditya (@neutronstar)
          19th May 2017, 8:02

          @johnmilk :’DD

        2. Ya got me

    10. COTD Obviously by removing a couple of rules you are going to get a more natural outcome. It’s like in computer science for every line of code for every bug solved 2 new appear.

    11. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      19th May 2017, 6:44

      “Lance is proving he’s more than capable.” Oh come on, I’m all for positivity and support but seriously? That’s just delusion. I appreciate it’s man management but there’s no need to downright lie.

      Does anyone know how I can watch the Indy 500 not having BT?

      1. Fukobayashi (@)
        19th May 2017, 7:54

        +1 re: Indy 500

      2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        19th May 2017, 12:54

        Ask around and see if any friends/ family members have BT Sport, and then you can use their login details to watch it online on the BT Sport website or app

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          19th May 2017, 21:34


    12. Carey’s intention might be good. But he will have a difficult battle renegotiating the concorde agreement now, especially when the big teams have much bigger benefits from it than the others.

      I guess it is all negotiable if he can keep everybody happy. But F1 team bosses being the usual cry babies it certainly won’t be easy

      1. That will be fun.

      2. He won’t be renegotiating it though @johnmilk. The current contracts end in 2020, so they are now ramping up towards what will come after that.

        1. I did read that wrong if I’m honest @bascb, thanks. (next time I will wait until I’m actually woken up)

          Still will be curious to see how things develop. The teams that benefit the most out of the concorde agreement won’t want to see their perks reduced, while the teams that don’t get as much will want a levelled distribution.

          1. yeah, there will still be a big stab, jab, walk away, embrace etc struggle going on to get Ferrari to accept not getting more than everyone just because and the likes of RBR, Mercedes and Ferrari (and McLaren, Williams but those will probably have less of a bargaining position) having to come to terms with not getting to block healthy change of the rules anymore @johnmilk

    13. Fukobayashi (@)
      19th May 2017, 7:58

      When people like JEV and Heidfeld are not in F1 and people like Stroll and Palmer are, there is something very wrong with the sport.

      1. I understand your point, but Heidfeld does not deserve a spot on the current grid.

        Since the year 2000 – 250 races over 9 different classes for a total of 1 victory.

        1. no race wins.

          1. Incorrect. He won the final round of the 2013 ALMS, albeit not by himself.

    14. Was the Force India tweet intended as a joke? Only a mother could love that sound!

      1. just focus on the smells and vibes

        1. @johnmilk

          Made me laugh!……:)

        2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          19th May 2017, 13:16

          Killing it today XD

    15. Regarding Lance Stroll, I think many people forget that this year’s cars are much more demanding to drive than for the past few years… and there was very little pre-season testing… and the drivers get a limited number of tires for free practices… and Lance came straight from F3, which is a quite a big step. So it’s not really fair to compare him with Lewis’s debut (unlimited testing) or Max’s (a slower formula).
      Keep in mind, most people last year have said ‘Give Stoffel a chance, he is more than capable’, which was highlighted by his performance in the Bahrain GP. This year, the gap to Fernando is enormous. And we’re talking about a guy who did a couple of seasons in GP2.
      I’m not saying that Lance is the next big thing, I’m just saying – give the poor guy some time, given the challenge he is facing.

      1. He may become good enough, or he may not, but at the moment he clearly isn’t, regardless of the reasons. And since F1 is the pinnacle of car racing, and not some junior class, he simply should not be in F1 at the moment.
        (And on a side note, as a proud supporter of Williams, I must admit that this has a diminishing effect on my love for them.)

        1. To be fair: Neither does Palmer, of which we now know that he for sure won’t become good enough.

          1. Palmer is 100 times worse than Stroll, but is copping 1/10th of the criticism. Look, I don’t want to defend Stroll, but I do believe he deserves a few more races to prove himself before we cast him aside. What I find annoying at that we are all talking abut Stroll when Palmer and Magnussen are worse drivers and both got to F1 the same way that Stroll got there. (Powerful dads).
            Stroll is a rookie. Palmer and Magnussen aren’t. If at the end of this year, Stroll has not improved, we will all demand his ejection. Fair enough too. But why the heck aren’t we screaming the walls down about Palmer and Magnussen? I have one word for both of these drivers. Crap. I would 100% prefer that they brought back Maldonado over either of these two. At least he showed talent and was quick between crashing. I am serious here too. Maldonado was a better driver than either Palmer or Magnussen.

            1. Magnusson? No way, he is better than both Palmer and Stroll at the moment. (Aren’t you confused with Ericsson, who isn’t good enough either?)
              But coming back to Stroll, my problem is not that he might or might not be good enough, my problem with him is that this year he clearly isn’t up to the challenge, and they should have kept him in a junior series for at least another year. F1 isn’t a training camp, as Williams seems to be thinking.
              They should take an example from Red Bull, and only promote drivers who are basically there or extremely skilled.

            2. @mickharrold

              Not do defend Magnussen in particular (I was very excited initially, but in his third season he still seems sometimes prone to rookie-ish mistakes), but the comparison to Stroll with regard to his father is not entirely correct.

              True that his father, Jan Magnussen, is a former F1 driver (one and a half seasons for Steward) and an accomplished Le Mans series driver, but he has not paid Magnussen the younger’s way. Magnussen has been financially backed by the Bestseller clothing business through sponsorship deals with their Jack&Jones brand, but his father has nothing to do with that.

            3. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
              19th May 2017, 13:15

              The difference between Stroll and Palmer is sheer arrogance.

              Neither is F1 calibre, and both have sufficient funds to enter F1 when they felt they were ready.

              F1 is not a finishing school, and the difference is that Palmer at least had the good manners to do 4 years of GP2 to hone his racecraft first. Stroll is literally an accident waiting to happen.

              One thing I do need to call out however is Martin Brundle’s BLATANT favouritism.

              He had the gall to say that if Stoffel doesn’t improve soon he needs to go (saying the same about Stroll) but not even mentioning his mate’s son Jolyon! Funny that.

            4. @murph OK, I forgot Ericcson. He’s better than the other 3 but still isn’t F1 quality.
              @fullcoursecaution You say “Palmer had the good manors to do 4 years of GP2” before entering F1. I say he was so crap that even after 4 years of GP2, he still had to buy his way into F1.
              Stroll, Magnussen, Palmer and Ericcson are currently taking the seats of well deserving drivers out there. People who might not have money or powerful fathers, but people who are way more skilled than they are.

    16. Re COTD If that was the case, Vettel and Hamilton would have used softs throughout the race and I don’t think the battle would been as exciting as had happened.

    17. ‘He’s proving he’s more than capable and more than deserving of a seat in Formula 1’ – No, no he’s not. There are only 20 seats now and one of them being dead weight is terrible for the sport.

    18. I am fortunate enough to been on hot laps several times with J.Y. Stewart in high performance road cars (because of my profession), and the thing that most impressed me about J.Y.S. was his absolute calm at the wheel, tires screeching, four wheel drifting, and Jackie putting minimal inputs into the steering wheel. Contrast this with Lance Stroll’s manic fighting and see-sawing of the wheel, as though he’s wrestling a raging bull. They could not be more different.

      1. Wow such a surprising comparison I don’t know where to begin. I’ll just sum up the 20 different thoughts I have on this commentary by saying I bet Lance Stroll would be just as calm while four wheel drifting a performance road car, and leave it at that.

    19. Lance Stroll reminds me a bit of Jaime Alguersuari in that I think he’s been moved into F1 a year or 2 too soon & I don’t think were seeing how good he actually is because of that & the early problems he’s suffered have dented his confidence which isn’t going to help.

      Lance, Like Jaime has a good resume behind him through his junior career which is plenty good enough to warrant an F1 seat….. Eventually. But like with Jaime I don’t think he’s fully ready for F1 at the time he’s made the move.

      I think he has shown flashes of his talent as with the exception of the Spanish Gp weekend I actually think he’s shown some fairly decent speed, Nothing spectacular but there are signs that he has the underlying speed. Making Q3 in China despite very little running over the weekend on a track he hadn’t seen before for example, You don’t do that if you don’t have talent.

      The problem is that because he’s not fully ready he doesn’t have the consistency he needs & he’s making the sort of little mistakes that you would expect a rookie of his experience level to make. I also think as I said earlier that his confidence is down, If he’s able to get a few decent results to build his confidence then that along with the experience he’s gain over a season should see him turn a corner & start showing the talent which he appears to have. I just hope that unlike Jaime he doesn’t lose his seat just as he’s starting to show it.

    20. Rick Lopez (@viscountviktor)
      19th May 2017, 17:33

      Yes, Lance is really proving he is good enough for F1.

    21. montey carlo (@roundtheoutside)
      20th May 2017, 11:51

      In a nutshell I think

      Kvyat is rb’s rough diamond, but they underestimated just how rough he was. Hasnonly just started to look fast and comfy in a car since 2014, when he got dropped I remember him saying “can’t remember the last time I was comfortable in the car” struggled to adapt to the STR 2016, but is clawing it back. He was running really well in Melbourne but had a reliability issue. I do remember that ric beat jev in qually by bigger margins and better race results too. Now if kvyat even has as mediocre year, they will get rid of him I reckon, he has to beat sainz convincingly this year.

      Vergne was seen as the finished article and more or less mediocre, so rb decided to put max in with sainz. Marko gives mediocre performers 2 seasons then gets rid. If he had decided otherwise, max wouldn’t have been able to win his first race and prove himself vs danny ric. Rb have a youth system comparable to man utd in the prem. McLarens young driver system is bad, Ferraris ain’t much better at all, but with leclerc it might change my view if his form translates to f1.

    22. Max was gifted his first race win

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