Report: Formula E Champion Jean-Eric Vergne Could Return to F1
Fast-but-flawed Vergne last raced in Formula 1 with Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2014. Facing a talent deficit, the team reportedly wants him back for 2019.
Reigning Formula E champion and former Formula 1 driver Jean-Eric Vergne is reportedly being beckoned back to the sport he was cast out from after 2014 by an offer from a team.
"It's a possibility," Vergne said of a Formula 1 comeback in an interview with Crash. "It's funny how the world of motorsport changes. When you change your state of mind, when you change a little bit how you work, you see the results straight away. You see it in the results, and you see it in how people look at you and how they speak to you. When you start representing a brand what you are, it changes a lot of things."
"Three years ago, I don’t think anybody would have called me from F1 and said, 'hey, do you have a contract for next season?' So it's great,” Vergne concluded.
Vergne last competed in Formula 1 during the 2014 season at Scuderia Toro Rosso alongside Daniil Kvyat, who was promoted to Red Bull for 2015, while Vergne was displaced for valuable prospects Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. despite outscoring his Russian teammate. According to Motorsport Italy, Vergne is on the radar of Red Bull advisor Dr. Helmut Marko along with other former Toro Rosso driver Sebastian Buemi, both of whom fall into the Brendon Hartley category of former juniors that may be offered a second chance after maturing some.
Vergne's Crash interview did not suggest he would be interested in reprising his role at Toro Rosso, as he stated he would "consider" a "good opportunity." With the second Red Bull seat filled Monday by Pierre Gasly, upward momentum within an organization that previously snubbed him despite laudable performance may look unlikely to Vergne, limiting the attractiveness of the move. However, a sportswriter with Swiss publication Blick alleges that Vergne has indeed signed with Toro Rosso-Honda for the 2019 season.
The Drive contacted Toro Rosso-Honda for comment and we will update when we receive a response from the Faenza-based. Given that it seems to be Red Bull announcement season, we may not need to wait long to find out if this claim is true.