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.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.