April 25, 1990
Scuderia Toro Rosso
|Career statistics to end 2013|
There was bitter disappointment for the man they call ‘JEV’ in mid-season when Red Bull announced that his teammate Daniel Ricciardo would be the driver to replace Mark Webber in 2014.
While he retains his seat at Toro Rosso, that decision closes off some options for the Frenchman: there is no longer an obvious progression for him within the Red Bull framework, and recent history suggests he is unlikely to be offered a third straight year in the junior team. Just ask Jaime Alguersuari or Sebastien Buemi…
Vergne ended the season one place behind Ricciardo in 15th overall on 13 points, which was disappointingly three fewer than in his debut season in 2012.
Even worse news for him was that all 13 of those points were racked up in the first seven races of the season, which means he went 12 straight races without troubling the scorers.
On the positive side of the ledger, it was Vergne who achieved Toro Rosso’s best finish of the year when he was sixth in Canada.
That came hard on the heels of a four-point haul in Monaco and JEV felt he was flying: “After finishing eight in Monaco,” he said, “this result on another difficult track has boosted my confidence and I feel I have progressed as a driver.”
Alas, Montreal was his last top-10 finish and while Ricciardo’s own second-half results were nothing to write home about they were enough to make him the leading STR performer for the year.
It all means that Vergne, faced with one of the brightest rising stars as his 2014 teammate in GP3 champion Daniil Kvyat, must lift his game if his F1 future is to extend beyond another year.