Jean-Éric Vergne might have his Formula 1 career saved following Sebastian Vettel’s announcement that he will leave Red Bull Racing.
The Frenchman was informed his services would no longer be required when the team appointed Max Verstappen in his place for the 2015 season, but with teammate Daniil Kvyat being promoted to the drinks giant’s top team as a result of Vettel’s impending exit, that has once again opened up a seat at the Faenza squad.
The line-ups of both Red Bull-owned teams are never confirmed unless they have the express blessing of Red Bull owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, and the Austrian billionaire has given a strong hint that Vergne could in fact be ‘un-fired’.
“There is quite an argument to have an experienced pilot next to a very young driver,” he told Speed Week, when asked if Vergne was now back in the frame in the wake of the latest developments.
Mateschit’z comments echo those of Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost, who bemoaned the decision to dispense with Vergne in an exclusive interview with RichardsF1.com.
While not an explicit endorsement of Vergne, the 24-year-old has enjoyed a strong run of form since his sacking was announced. A highlight was a fighting drive to sixth place on the streets of Singapore, which was backed up with another points’ finish at Suzuka.
“We have felt for some weeks that something is up with Sebastian,” Mateschitz added, when quizzed about Vettel’s decision to leave the team with whom he swept to four successive Drivers’ Championship titles.
“Sometimes it is time for change. Sebastian was four-times a champion with us – he came to us when he was very young. Now it is time for us to lead another boy to the top.
“We wish Sebastian all the best. The separation is done by consensus and is the right thing for both sides.”
Vettel is widely expected to join Ferrari next year.
Image via XPB Images