Now racing in Formula E, Jean-Eric Vergne's Formula 1 career came to an abrupt end in 2014 when Red Bull fast-tracked Max Verstappen into a race seat at Toro Rosso - but how close did he come to stepping up to partner Daniel Ricciardo and join a race-winning team?

Find out that and much more in the latest interview for Crash.net's '10 Minutes With' series...

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Crash.net
You've made an impressive start to your third season in Formula E, now with Techeetah, a team that has popped up with a good powertrain in the back of the car. How would you rate the season so far?

Jean-Eric Vergne:
I think really good. Obviously we had high expectations, but the mistakes that happened at the beginning of the season were kind of expected and normal. We are a new team. I think what we've done considering the lack of testing has been fantastic. So I'm really pleased with the beginning of the season. Obviously we're behind in the championship. But from the good points is that we have a strong car. The team is in much, much better shape than in the beginning of the season. There are still many races to go. I'm sure, I'm confident, and the whole team is confident that we can catch up in the championship.

Crash.net
Compared to 12 months ago when you were racing with DS Virgin Racing, do you feel more comfortable and confident in the car that you are racing in?

JEV:
It's day and night difference.

Crash.net
How are you feeling in Formula E as a whole at the moment? Do you feel comfortable here? Do you think you have a long-term future in this series?

JEV:
Yeah I think so. I'm here for the long-term, that's for sure. I think this championship is growing massively. It's only going to get more and more interesting.

Crash.net
What do you think makes Formula E so special?

JEV:
Well the fact that we drive the future. The new technologies that are going into the car are of use to everybody. The constructors are all interested in this championship because there are the new technologies they are putting in their new car. It makes sense for all of them to come in Formula E, and that's what's happening. It's the championship where the most constructors involved and that kind of makes sense.

Crash.net
Why was it the place that you decided to go after Formula E?

JEV:
It's funny, I had that question asked to me today, but never before.

Crash.net
Oh really?

JEV:
Yeah. Hmm. Well you know when you look at all the other championships, it was a very promising championship, getting bigger and bigger. Back then it had a huge potential with constructors coming in already back then. When you're a racing driver, you want to be in the championship that is viewed by the whole world, a world championship obviously. It's still not a world championship but it is going to be in the future, I have no doubt about it. And a very competitive series. Also you want to be with a constructor, and by season five, I think every team will be backed by constructors.

Crash.net
Balancing this with your duties in WEC with Manor, you've got a busy racing calendar. Do you feel fulfilled as a racing driver?

JEV:
Yeah I feel really happy. Obviously WEC is a new start for me, it's a beginning. I'm trying to prove myself as an endurance driver. That requires different qualities than the qualities that are required in this kind of championship, single-seater championship. I can prove my worth and hopefully get a drive in LMP1 with a constructor in the future.

Crash.net
Are there any hard feelings about how your F1 career ended?

JEV:
It's funny, I had that question again today as well!

Crash.net
I'm doing well, two for two!

JEV:
I'm not going to give you the answer I gave... (JEV mimes punching me in the face and laughs) You have a girlfriend now, you've had girlfriend before, and now it turned out much better. So there is always hard feelings after, but it always turns out for something quite good. There is life after Formula 1 and next to Formula 1. It's not like there is only one girl on this planet. There is no hard feelings. Obviously looking at what Ricciardo is doing, you wish to be in the same car as him, win races and fight for championships, but that's how it is. I get to do it now in a different championship that is getting really big, and who knows what is going to be of Formula E in the future?

Crash.net
I'm going to give you some starting words, give me your thoughts and feelings on each. Firstly: your racing ambitions and dreams.

JEV:
My dream was to do the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I'm doing it this year. The next one I would love to do is the Indianapolis 500.

Crash.net
Oh wow. So you're following what Fernando Alonso is doing at the moment?

JEV:
Yeah. I had no doubt before that I wanted to do that race. I'm still in touch with Andretti. I know that one day I will do that race. I don't know when yet, I don't have any rush to do it, but I really want to do it, that's for sure.

Crash.net
As part of a wider IndyCar programme do you think?

JEV:
I don't know, I don't know. We'll see what the future brings.

Crash.net
Home. What do you see as home?

JEV:
Nowhere..! Nah I live in Dubai, but we're travelling non-stop. Home I would say is my suitcase!

Crash.net
Your first time in a Formula 1 car.

JEV:
It was at Goodwood in 2010, and I will always remember it. I think it was Lewis in an old McLaren in front of me. You have to go down to the start. It was the first time, I was with a V10, V12 Cosworth. I went one second, and then I went to brake and it was the first time in my life I had carbon brakes. I didn't know they needed to be warmed up! I was lucky he looked in the mirror and moved into the grass! That was my first time.

Crash.net
Your first Formula 1 test.

JEV:
Abu Dhabi with Toro Rosso. It was an amazing few days, first time testing in F1. I remember that very well.

Crash.net
Your first time in a Formula E car.

JEV:
Punta del Este, Saturday. (in December 2014 - Vergne did not drive the car until the day of his first race)

Crash.net
How did that feel?

JEV:
Very weird! It was a weird car to drive when you come from Formula 1, but it was very special.

Crash.net
And then you put the car on pole?

JEV:
Ha, yeah!

Crash.net
It was as easy as that?

JEV:
It wasn't easy, but it was very special.

Crash.net
The JEV of 2012 compared to the JEV of today.

JEV:
I don't remember really...

Crash.net
How do you feel you've changed as a person and a racer?

JEV:
It's so far away. If you ask compared to last year, I'll be able to reply.

Crash.net
OK then, compared to last year, let's go with that.

JEV:
Very different. I'm in a much happier mood every day. I'm really happy in the team I am in. I enjoy my driving to the fullest now which I wasn't last year. When I race, I've got nothing holding me up. That gives me a really happy feeling.

Crash.net
Toro Rosso.

JEV:
Red Bull in Italian! No, Toro Rosso became a family. I really loved my time there. I think it's a great Formula 1 team. With the money they have, what they are doing is great. I loved it. I learned the most in Formula 1. I will always remember those three years racing with them as really good memories.

Crash.net
The best race of your career.

JEV:
Well I have a few. I think one of the best ones was here in Monaco in 2014 when I was running fourth and my engine blew up. Otherwise, Singapore 2014 also, when I was ninth with two laps to go and I finished sixth. That was quite good. That was fun racing, pure racing where you go for it.

Crash.net
2014.

JEV:
Very unfair situation. I had scored a lot more points than Kvyat. He was the whole season 10 kg lighter. At the beginning of the season they told me 'we're spending the money on next year's car so we're sorry but we're not going to make the car lighter for you'. So the whole season I had to deal with a deficit of 0.2s to 0.4s in each qualifying. And then in the race it's worth 10, 15 seconds. It had been a difficult season because at the end of the day, I scored a lot more points than my teammate back then. In the summer I got a call from Red Bull saying that they would put Max in the car. Back then, I totally understood it. It was like, OK, Toro Rosso is some kind of school for the Red Bull junior drivers and there was no place to go to Red Bull, so actually it was kind of them to let me know so early in the season. But during that call, I said 'what if Vettel goes?'. He said 'you will be in the car'.

Crash.net
Really?

JEV:
Yeah.

Crash.net
Wow.

JEV:
I had done a great season so far, it was good. They knew the deficit I had against Kvyat in the car, talking about the weight. Later on, when Vettel left, it was after my good races that I had done. It was kind of normal. But I found out later that because the way it was said, it would have looked bad that they'd come back on that decision.

Crash.net
So as they'd announced Max before and said they were getting rid of you, to put you into a Red Bull seat would have looked strange.

JEV:
Yeah. I had got the phone call saying that if Vettel goes, you are the one who goes up.

Crash.net
That must have been very frustrating for you.

JEV:
It was extremely frustrating. So that's why... yeah, it was a frustrating situation, definitely. Then the whole Toro Rosso team wanted to keep me next to Max, and at the end of the day, it was the same outcome. They would not go back on the decision.

Crash.net
How about your life away from racing? What do you do in your free time?

JEV:
Well this year I've been pretty busy with WEC. I'm working on different projects around Formula E, around new energies, hydrogen. I've started working on this, but I think I will be able to talk a bit more in the future. Right now I'm focusing on my racing. I have some stuff in the pipeline that are not related to motor racing.

Crash.net
And how about your life away from work? What do you do to chill out?

JEV:
Well lately, nothing! I think I should start looking for something to do for chilling out. Actually the last time I had three days off in Mexico, I went to Tulum with my girlfriend. A couple of days out from everything.

Crash.net
Well my next question was is there a Netflix series you're watching at the moment, but I guess not...

JEV:
Oh yeah, yeah! I finished watching Billions. I loved it. I'm watching The 100, it's quite good. I've been quite into those two recently.

Crash.net
Finally - what are the last five emojis you used on your phone?

JEV:
Crying laughing face, shocked eyes face, love heart, smiley face and smiley love heart face. That shows my spirit!!