Jean-Éric Vergne has confirmed via Twitter that he will not be driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso in Formula 1 next year after Red Bull’s powers-that-be decided not to keep the Frenchman on for a fourth season with its junior squad.
Despite a good season & 22 pts, I’ll not drive anymore for Toro Rosso in 2015. Thanks for those years. Let’s go for another big challenge.
— Jean-Eric Vergne (@JeanEricVergne) November 26, 2014
The 2010 British F3 champion stepped up from a test driving role in 2012 and proved to be a quick – albeit occasionally inconsistent – performer against teammates such as Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat. He scored 22 of the team’s 30 championship points this season, finishing thirteenth in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
He was previously pushed aside for 2015 when Toro Rosso announced that Formula 3 sensation Max Verstappen would be joining the squad to partner Daniil Kvyat. It was a decision that angered some – not least of whom being Vergne – with Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost urging that the 24-year-old deserved a seat on next year’s grid.
A potential lifeline then emerged when Sebastian Vettel sensationally announced his exit from Red Bull Racing – for which Kvyat was promoted to the senior team – meaning Vergne was back in the frame to be kept on as a more experienced partner to Verstappen.
Vergne was named on a four-man list of candidates – alongside respective Formula Renault 3.5 champion and runner-up Carlos Sainz Jr and Pierre Gasly, as well as GP3 champion Alex Lynn – but has subsequently confirmed his departure.
Toro Rosso is understood to be planning to confirm Verstappen’s 2015 teammate on Monday, where Sainz Jr – who drove for Red Bull Racing at this weekend’s season-ending test at Abu Dhabi – is considered the hot favourite.
Images via XPB Images