Jean-Eric Vergne – Background star of 2014?

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    Bradley Downton

    As many of you probably know – you may not, in which case you’re about to learn something – I do the Driver of the Weekend articles each race.

    For this I have to search through the comments on each vote article and select a few for each of the top three drivers.

    While doing this for both Monaco and Canada, I noticed there was a vast amount of support for Jean-Eric Vergne.

    I think he has been performing fantastically this season so far and has been hugely unlucky with car issues. He’s also been unlucky in the fact that he has a rookie team mate who has scored a few points, unfortunately overshadowing Vergne’s performances because more often than not he hasn’t had the result he deserves.

    It all seems to me to be very similar to Jaime Alguersuari, and I fear no matter what Vergne does now he’ll be dropped come the season’s end because of Carlos Sainz Jr’s good form in GP3. I just hope someone else see’s how impressive he’s been and picks the young Frenchman up. He’s got a real talent!

    Another thing I noticed was that, despite all of the comments for Vergne, he’s still not getting many votes!


    “If he didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck at all” – James Allen. He’s not in an ideal position at the moment, because he can’t really deliver any standout performances to entice other teams due to the Toro Rosso car over the last few years not being “up there” & always being in or around the midfield. And also the fact that the Red Bull junior team is eager to try out some new drivers in their development programme. So although he does a solid job, he’s been in the team quite a long time now and not really done anything spectacular – which might be why Toro Rosso might try someone new out, especially with seeing how Kvyat has been performing so early into his F1 career.

    Bradley Downton

    Am I alone in not being hugely impressed by Kvyat this year? He’s done well for a rookie yeah, but not outstanding and certainly not better than Vergne. Vergne should have been 5th or 6th in Monaco, Kvyat has been nowhere near that kind of performance


    Kyvat’s had a couple of anonymous races, I think that’s more likely due to Vergne being very good in Monaco and Canada though, I expect he’ll be back on his pace now.

    I do hope someone picks him up for next year, if not an F1 team then I think he would be very solid in an LMP1 car, like Buemi (although hopefully he doesn’t take his luck with him).


    There’s no room for Vergne: Ricciardo has convinced everyone at Red Bull, unless he leaves Vergne won’t be promoted (even if Vettel moved I doubt they’d make Ricciardo lead driver with Vergne as team mate). Staying at Toro Rosso for a fourth year must be against Red Bull’s plans, as they need to have room to put a young driver in. Unless Sainz doesn’t really prove his talent this year and needs another season in junior categories, Vergne’s seat will be sacrificed: they already have Ricciardo, who seems better than the Frenchman, they’ll want to try and see if their other juniors are stronger than him.
    And unfortunately so, because Vergne has been unfortunate (just like last year), though this time he’s been even more impressive and fully deserves his seat.


    Unless Sainz doesn’t really prove his talent this year and needs another season in junior categories

    Considering his form so far this year he’ll really have to drop the ball now I think, he’s been pretty dominant in FR3.5.


    It seems to be the way with the Red Bull driver program. The drivers get 3 years to impress in Toro Rosso before the team bring in the next generation. If a space happens to become available in the main team, then you’re in pole position. If not, then it’s tough luck, off to the DTM with you. Vergne is definitely worthy of an F1 seat but unless Vettel for some reason chooses to leave Red Bull, then he won’t be in F1 next year. Unfortunately for him, Red Bull seem to have a real embarrassment of riches at the moment with so much talent in their driver program. They’ve got at least 2 very good drivers aiming for a Vergne’s seat.


    Am I alone in not being hugely impressed by Kvyat this year?

    Certainly not @bradley13, he has been mightily impressive. Particularly when you bear in mind that he was still a teenager very recently. He could go very far in the sport.

    Vergne is a trickier one to assess. He has impressed in patches of his career, he seemed to be about equal to Ricciardo at times during their stint together at STR, particularly over a race distance, and now he is performing pretty well in 2014. But he has been with STR for 3 years now, so it is sort of expected that he would be able to be a solid midfield runner by now. Given the way Helmut Marko runs the Red Bull Junior Team you have to think that, unless Marko completely loses his marbles and decides to axe either Ricciardo or Vettel at Red Bull, he will be replaced by the impressive Carlos Sainz Jnr. at the end of the season. It’s a shame, but he has been given a fair crack at F1, a lot fairer crack than some Red Bull Juniors get. A career in WEC beckons methinks.

    Daniel Brennan

    Well Jean – Eric has driven so well in the first part of this season yet he only has eight points, which is frustrating. In terms of all – out pace, he has it but the reason he’s going to get dropped is consistency. That was part of the reason Ricciardo got the main seat and he didn’t. It’s hard to see a future for him even though at times he is incredibly fast.

    Keith Campbell

    I think he’s had a very good season so far (performance wise, not results wise), but he was equally impressive up until this point last season too. He was out-performing Ricciardo significantly at this stage last year (i remember Monaco and Canada in particular), but he faded quite badly the last half of the season compared to his team-mate.

    I think he has talent, can be very good either in the wet or on certain circuits, but lacks a bit of dry qualifying pace compared to the top tier, and ultimately that could be his downfall. Not sure where he can go in F1 if he is not retained at Torro Rosso, apart from maybe a back marker team who could use his experience.


    I think Vergne has had a terrific season but his comments on F1 have interested me as much as his performance. He’s pretty much starved himself this season just because he believes he loses around 3/10ths to Kyvat simply due to their difference in weight. If that actually is true then I do wonder whether comparing drivers is even more down to guesswork than it was before. I think he’s having a great season but if his comments are true, or even have an element of truth, then perhaps he’d be rated better and Kvyat wouldn’t be getting all the glory.

    Iestyn Davies

    Some interesting points of view in this thread. Combining them all leaves us with the reasons why Vergne will be dropped and Sainz Jr (or Lynn, Gasly) will be in the Toro Rosso in 2015.

    I think the early season form is explainable by the 0.3 deficit to Kvyat each lap from carrying extra weight. Daniil’s been impressive, but is now going through a lull, just like Magnussen. They’ll probably come on stronger towards the end of the year. Now that Vergne’s disadvantage has been nullified, he is comfortably beating Kvyat – however we should expect this – Vergne is in his 3rd season.

    Vergne can definitely shine in less grippy conditions, same for Bottas, just like Perez can get more tyre life. But Ricciardo might have the edge in dry qualifying pace and overtaking – which are both critical for the Red Bull car.

    Thus, I think Vergne’s best chance to stay in F1 will be Renault buying back Lotus and forming a French F1 team again, with Grosjean, Vergne and Pic as reserve, until Ocon steps up to F1. But until Maldonado runs out of money, I can’t really see that happening – and Nissan moving into WEC hints at that direction for Vergne instead. If only he scored 5th in Monaco… like for Di Resta, it could have been different..

    PS. Steph – I know that Vergne, Sutil and Ericsson were all hampered, the latter two by half a second a lap. Now that updates have come in to reduce the car weight at all 3 teams (which incidentally are towards the rear of the grid, except for Marussia), all 3 have taken a step forwards in pace, Ericsson to match Kobayashi more often, and Sutil to go from being even with Gutierrez to usually besting him by a large margin.

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