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F1 encyclopedia

Jean-Éric Vergne

Formula 1 driver

Jean-Éric Vergne
Credit: Getty
Vital statistics for Jean-Éric Vergne
NationalityFRA
BirthplacePontoise, France
Born25 April 1990
Age27
F1 debutAustralian Grand Prix, 2012
Driver number25

Vergne joined the Red Bull junior team very early in his racing career, and that helped him move up to Formula One with Toro Rosso. He was overlooked by Red Bull for the seat at the main team in 2014, leaving the Frenchman at Toro Rosso for a third consecutive season. He was in the running for a move to the big team again but found himself without a seat for 2015. Instead, he moved to Ferrari as a test driver.

F1 biography

Jean-Éric Vergne first started karting at the circuit owned by his father in France. He moved through the karting levels until he was ready to join the Formula Renault series in 2007. At the end of the year, after impressing with plenty of podium finishes, Vergne joined the Red Bull Junior team. After more Formula Renault variations, he moved to the British Formula Three series in 2010, racing for Carlin. He secured the title that year, winning a good percentage of the events.

At the end of the year, Vergne tested for Toro Rosso at the young driver event in Abu Dhabi. He impressed enough to be granted the opportunity to run in free practice during race weekends in 2011, and then after another young driver test appearance, he was signed to the Toro Rosso team for the 2012 season. His first year in the sport was dominated by poor qualifying performances, with Vergne himself admitting he needed to work on his Saturday results.

He was retained by Toro Rosso in 2013 and continued to perform and improve. When Mark Webber confirmed he would be retiring and leaving a vacant Red Bull seat behind him, Vergne was briefly in the frame for the promotion. However, the team soon revealed they weren’t considering the Frenchman, instead concentrating on his teammate Daniel Ricciardo – who went on to get the seat.

Despite being overlooked for the step up, Vergne remained at Toro Rosso for 2014, for his third year with the team. It was a similar story that season, with Vergne performing well and holding his own against the competitive Daniil Kvyat. However, he was left without a race seat for 2015, and moved to Ferrari to become test driver for the Italian team instead.

Alongside his test driver duties, Vergne joined the Formula E series, racing in the inaugural season of 2014/15 and remaining for the following three years.

Learn more about Jean-Éric Vergne with the Pocket F1 Handbook.