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Vergne closes on Friday role

Red Bull protege Jean-Eric Vergne looks increasingly likely to take part in Friday practice at the Korean, Abu Dhabi and Bazilians GPs this season.

Erstwhile British F3 champion Jean-Eric Vergne looks set to become Red Bull's latest F1 graduate, after admitting that he getting closer to agreeing terms on a Friday testing role with Scuderia Toro Rosso.

The Frenchman, currently in the running for the World Series by Renault title after hauling in long-time leader, former Red Bull protégé and Marussia Virgin reserve Robert Wickens at Paul Ricard two weekends ago, has already been mentioned in connection with a handful of late-season outings with STR in 2011, but now appears certain to take on the responsibility of running with the team during Friday practice in 2012 as well.

“It's almost done, we've been talking about it for a while, although there is no confirmation from the team as yet, ” Vergne told French television station during last weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

It is expected that the star, who won the 2010 British F3 crown with Carlin, will appear alongside either Jaime Alguersuari or Sebastien Buemi in Korea, Abu Dhabi and Brazil, but not take to the track at the new Indian GP venue as the two regular drivers take every opportunity to learn the new Buddh International circuit for themselves.

"It is just the confirmation we give him the chance to learn some race tracks, to get some experience of an F1 car, to learn our team, do some work with press, marketing and get some knowledge of all the technical issues and topics that are coming up for an F1 driver," STR team principal Franz Tost told the BBC when Vergne's involvement was first mooted last month, "We will see [about our 2012 line-up] at the end of the season. Theoretically, we can continue with both [current] drivers, but this is not a decision for today or the next few weeks."

With the end of season 'young drivers' test at Yas Marina also a possibility for Vergne, the Frenchman is excited about the prospect of combining whatever racing he does next season with a full-time role at one of the two Red Bull teams.

“The main idea [of the 2011 outings] is to get some experience for next season,” he confirmed, “I've been working on next season, but [the impending outings] will not be easy because it's a year since I've been in a F1 car. I'm there to learn and to get a good comparison with Alguersuari and Buemi."

With Daniel Ricciardo already waiting in the wings for a race drive with STR, the exact nature of Vergne's involvement remains unclear, although it is widely expected that either Alguersuari or Buemi will be dropped for 2012, allowing the Frenchman to take up the third driver role in combination with a possible GP2 ride. Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel remain ensconced in the senior Red Bull Racing line-up for another year.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
10.07.2011- Race, Jaime Alguersuari (SPA), Scuderia Toro Rosso, STR6 and SŽbastien Buemi (SUI), Scuderia Toro Rosso, STR6
08.09.2011- Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), HRT Formula One Team
Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Carlin Dallara Volskwagen
Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Carlin Dallara Volskwagen
Jean Eric Vergne (FRA) Carlin Dallara Volkswagen
20.04.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
20.04.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10 during pit stop
20.04.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10 and Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10 during pit stop
20.04.2014- Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR9

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1Jez

September 29, 2011 4:49 AM

I've posted it before and I'll post it again - STR lineup for 2012 will be Ricciardo, Algersuari (who will be under similar pressure to Buemi this year) and Vergne driving on Fridays and applying the blow torch to JA's seat. @MrQwerty - I would be very, very surprised if Buemi was in a race seat that belonged to the Red Bull stable in 2012. I think Algersuari has done enough to get another chance next year, though. And Vergne is as yet untested - if Ricciardo couldn't get a full time STR seat this year, I doubt Vernge will next year, though he may well deserve one at the mid-point.

MrQwerty

September 28, 2011 4:58 PM

So what chance that halfway through next year both Buemi and Alguersuari are gone. This leaves Ricciardo vs Vergne for a half season shootout for the Red Bull alongside Vettel in 2013? This guy looks like the real deal to me either way.



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