Vergne: Being kept by Toro Rosso win-win for everybody

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Jean-Eric Vergne believes that being retained by Toro Rosso for the 2015 Formula 1 season would be the best option for both himself and the team.

The Frenchman was originally dropped from the Toro Rosso line-up for next season, making way for 17-year-old rookie Max Verstappen.

However, following Sebastian Vettel’s decision to leave Red Bull at the end of the season, a space at Toro Rosso was freed up when Daniil Kvyat was promoted to be the German’s replacement.

Although junior drivers such as Carlos Sainz Jr. and Alex Lynn would appear to be the natural choice, the team has hinted that it could look for an experienced hand such as Vergne to help with Verstappen’s development.

“I think it is the best option for both the team and myself,” Vergne said when asked about the possibility of staying at Toro Rosso for 2015.

“I think with the build up at Toro Rosso, when I arrived we had a brand new team with a new technical director and a lot of new people. The plan was in a few years to be one of the top midfield teams. We’re getting there, and I think it would be really important for all of us that we keep going.

“I think we can be a really strong team next year if we keep going together, and that’s something that I think would be really nice. I would love that.

“Max is a great talent, and I think he can learn from me like Daniil did this year. I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Vergne also feels that his season has been dimmed somewhat by a number of retirements, overshadowing a strong campaign.

“I’ve been extremely unlucky this year with all of the retirements,” he said. “When you retire, no-one remembers where you were or where you could have finished or what you’ve done during the whole weekend. They just remember ‘oh no points in here’.

“When I look at the reaction of people after the race in Singapore – I’ve done many other races like this in the season, but never finishing it, no-one remembers.

“It’s a bit of a shame. Therefore, I would love to get one more year and show more performance, finishing the race like I did in Singapore.”

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Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.