Vergne: I am in Formula 1 and my place is in Formula 1

Jean Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso at Spa

Jean Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso at Spa

It has emerged that teenage sensation Max Verstappen learned of his 2015 debut long before Jean-Eric Vergne learned of his impending ousting from Red Bull owned Toro Rosso and is now seeking to stay in Formula 1 beyond this season.

Before his new Formula 1 race seat was announced, 16-year-old Verstappen was revealed by Red Bull as the latest member of its junior driver programme on August 12.

“Part of the signing of the contract,” the Dutchman told Auto Motor und Sport, “was that in 2015 I will drive for Toro Rosso.”

Team incumbent and Frenchman Vergne, however, said he didn’t know about losing his Toro Rosso seat until six days later.

“I knew about it just before you did” on August 18, Vergne said.

Asked by France’s RMC if he appreciated Red Bull’s handling of the news, he answered: “I think there is no right or wrong way. And I’m strong enough to overcome this kind of stuff so there is no problem.

Jean Eric Vergne determined to stay in F1

Jean Eric Vergne determined to stay in F1

“It’s pointless to be angry – or if I do have some anger, I will put it behind the wheel and make a show! I am looking at opportunities. Today I am in Formula 1 and my place is in Formula 1.”

However, former driver and German television commentator Marc Surer doesn’t agree, “He (Vergne) had his chance. He was against Daniel Ricciardo and didn’t prevail, now he is struggling with the rookie Daniil Kvyat.

“This is obviously the worst thing that can happen to you as a driver — you’re in your third Formula 1 season against a driver who last year was in GP3 and you’re not really beating him,” said Surer.

And added, “Only the best are in Formula 1 and Vergne is not among them. He is a good driver and as a Frenchman I could see him on the podium at Le Mans. But I think Formula 1 is over for him.” (GMM)