Formula Renault stand-out Jean-Eric Vergne looks set to become Red Bull's latest threat for the British F3 Championship, after the Frenchman revealed that he would be on his way to Carlin Motorsport for 2010.
Despite an impressive test in World Series machinery recently, Vergne's deal will come as some welcome news for Trevor Carlin's squad, which feared that it may lose its Red Bull link after two former pilots - Brendon Hartley and newly-crowned British F3 champion Daniel Ricciardo - were placed with Tech 1 Racing for next season's WSbR rather than carrying on their association with the British team.
“This championship is highly competitive and enjoys a great reputation in the motor racing milieu," Vergne commented, "F3 was my aim and it fits in with Red Bull's ambitions. Quite a few of the drivers in the Junior Team programme have followed the same path, and they've all benefitted greatly from it. In addition, I'm lucky to be
driving for Carlin Motorsport, a very competitive team which doesn't need any further introduction, so I can't wait!”
Moving to Britain has not always led to success for European drivers, but Vergne is looking forward to the experience, accepting that it can only help his career long-term.
“Absolutely!" he exclaimed, "It's very important for me to gain experience in a British milieu as, up to now, I've only known French teams. In 2010, I'm going to have to get to grips with a new category, learn new circuits and also learn a new way of working. I think that all these factors will make me a more complete driver.”
Despite stepping up from FRenault and moving to the UK, however, the confident Frenchman has only one goal in mind for 2010,
“To win, quite simply," he pointed out, "I feel that, with good preparation - which has already begun – and a competitive car, I'll be able to take the fight to the best right from the start.
"F3 is a turning point in a driver's career as it's where you can make a real impact. Jaime Alguersuari and Daniel Ricciardo, both Red Bull drivers, have won the title in this category in the past. Good things happen in threes as the saying goes, and I hope to prove this in 2010!”