Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Jean-Eric Vergne

Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), Sodikart. 2006 CIK-FIA World Karting Championship, Angerville, France, 30 September - 01 October 2006. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), Carlin Motorsport, won races 1 & 3. British Formula Three Championship, Rd1, Oulton Park, England, Monday 5 April Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 28 July 2012

Born on the outskirts of Paris in the suburb of Pontoise in 1990, Jean-Eric Vergne started karting at the age of 10. He may have been a relatively late starter, but he soon began making waves, winning the France ‘minimes’ championship in 2001 and finishing runner-up in the same series as a year later.

Over the next four seasons Vergne made his way up the karting ranks, tackling junior SODI KART, finishing runner-up in the 2004 French Rotax Max championship and the 2005 European championship, as well as clinching seventh place in the KF1 karting world championship in 2006.

In 2007 Vergne stepped up to single-seater racing, joining the French Formula Campus series. Relishing the new challenge, he won the championship comfortably after scoring six victories. It was enough to garner some wider attention and soon after he was invited to join Red Bull's young driver programme.

With help from the Austrian drink company, the Frenchman was able to compete in both the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup (WEC) in 2008. And he made the most of the opportunity, winning the French Formula Renault title, which was awarded to the best French driver in the WEC standings, and finishing both series as highest-placed rookie.

In 2009 he stayed in the European Formula Renault 2.0 series for another season and finished second overall behind Spain’s Albert Costa. The following year he made a very successful switch to the British Formula Three Championship, scoring 20 pole positions and 13 victories to win the title.

That year Vergne also found time to take part in the Zandvoort F3 Masters race, in which he finished fourth, and the Macau Grand Prix, where he took seventh, as well as four GP3 races. To cap it all, he also made his F1 test debut with Toro Rosso at November’s young driver session.

But after dominating in Britain, Vergne shifted his focus back to Europe in 2011, taking part in the Formula Renault 3.5 series. Although he had to be content with yet another runner-up slot - behind Robert Wickens - in the title hunt, he also got to test his Formula One mettle again, driving for Toro Rosso during first free practice at three of the last four Grands Prix of the year.

In November 2011, he was again in action at the Formula One young driver test in Abu Dhabi, but this time for Red Bull. And after impressing once more, Vergne landed a Formula One race drive alongside Daniel Ricciardo for the 2012 season with Toro Rosso. Impressively, the Frenchman made it into the points in just his second race, finishing eighth in the rain-afflicted Malaysian Grand Prix. He would finish in the same position a further three times over the course of his rookie season, although Toro Rosso struggled for pace for much of the year. Vergne’s final tally of 16 points - six more than team mate Ricciardo - helped him retain his seat for 2013.

That season, however, saw him play largely second fiddle to the blossoming Ricciardo and he missed out to the Australian on a much-prized 2014 Red Bull race drive. He put in some stylish performances nonetheless, including eighth place in Monaco and sixth in Canada, and was retained to lead Toro Rosso’s 2014 line-up alongside Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat.