Vergne: I felt like a robot being a Red Bull driver

Former Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne does not sound keen on a potential return to Formula 1 after his former boss, Red Bull’s Helmut Marko, this week all but ruled out a return for the two-time Formula E champion.

But Frenchman Vergne, 29, told L’Equipe that being in F1 actually made him feel like a robot, “They constantly told me ‘Eat this, sleep at this time, play sports this much, say this, smile there, don’t joke’.

“It reminds me of being a robot. So when you get into the car, you are no longer happy about it, you don’t feel like yourself. And I like to have fun. I like what I do. Why should I behave differently if I don’t want to? But I am of course proud that I got to Formula 1,” he said.

Vergne contested the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons for Red Bull’s second team, Toro Rosso. He acknowledges some of the mistakes he made, “I felt my status, I thought that I was the king, that I could handle everyone.

“But people thought that I was too full of negativity, because I never smile. And that was true. It took me a while to realise that you need to smile,” said Vergne.

He was told by Marko that he would no longer be required in Red Bull’s F1 program after the 2014 season, “I was told during the summer break when I was with my family. It was like a bomb. All my dreams were shattered.

“When I left Formula 1, I ran out of money. I was stupid and didn’t make a lot of money at Red Bull. People think that Formula 1 is full of money, and I also considered myself a millionaire, so I quickly spent everything. It took me two years to recover,” added Vergne.