F1 2014 Driver Review: Jean-Eric Vergne

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Jean-Eric Vergne

Team: Scuderia Toro Rosso
Car No.: 25
Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums (excluding wins): 0
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 22
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 13th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Like many before him, Jean-Eric Vergne fell victim of the cut-throat nature of the Red Bull junior programme in 2014, losing his seat after three seasons with Toro Rosso that have seen him do little wrong.

The Frenchman was overlooked for the seat at Red Bull last season, and lost out again this year to rookie teammate Daniil Kvyat despite scoring almost three times as many points. The Russian’s promotion did free up a space at Toro Rosso once again, only for the team to choose Carlos Sainz Jr. despite Vergne being the preferred choice for Max Verstappen and, rumor has it, team principal Franz Tost.

It’s a shame to see JEV go, given that he hasn’t been able to show his true ability. In 2014, reliability did his record little help in what has undoubtedly been his best season for the team. In Singapore, his charge to sixth was sensational, proving that he has what it takes to cut it with the very best.

A test role may beckon for Vergne, but if he can’t get a full-time race seat, perhaps another series such as IndyCar or WEC would be better.

Of all of the Red Bull juniors to be jilted, Vergne has arguably done more than anyone to warrant another season.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Timing is everything in the Red Bull system, and at the time Jean-Eric Vergne enjoyed his best season yet in three with Scuderia Toro Rosso, came the time that time has been called – temporarily, anyway – on his F1 racing career.

The Frenchman improved his qualifying for a second straight season and was unlucky to miss out on more points than the 22 he managed to score due to myriad of mechanical maladies. Even so, he was still clear of rookie teammate Daniil Kvyat, but the Russian’s ceiling appeared higher to the higher-ups at Red Bull.

Vergne’s now entered the same career conundrum that has befallen names like Sebastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari and Vitantonio Liuzzi at STR. He’s a capable F1 driver and merits a place on the grid, but at 24 – a full, and this seems hard to believe, seven years older than 2015 debutante Max Verstappen – he doesn’t appear to be edgy or young enough to fit into the Red Bull empire going forward. A reserve role wouldn’t do justice to his talent and I’d rather see him attempt to go forward in a top-line sports car or IndyCar ride, where he could make a greater impression.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.