In 2008 Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne was named as part of the Red Bull Junior Team, he remained a part of the Red Bull programme until his departure from Formula One at the end of 2014.
Vergne made 58 starts for Toro Rosso in F1 between 2012 and 2014 but was left out in the cold when the management overlooked him for a seat at the senior team following Sebastian Vettel‘s move to Scuderia Ferrari.
The Frenchman now finds himself in the FIA Formula E Series, having raced for Andretti, DS Virgin and Techeetah since he joined the series in its inaugural season. Additionally in 2015 and 2016 Vergne was the test driver for Ferrari but it is currently unknown whether he will continue the role in the 2017 season as a result of 2016 GP2 Series runner up Antonio Giovinazzi‘s appointment as their third driver.
Whilst speaking to safeisfast.com Vergne commented: “It’s quite funny because my biggest obstacle was Red Bull, because I had no manager when I left F1. It’s good when things are going well with Red Bull, but when they aren’t, you have nowhere to go, but I was lucky and managed to sort myself out in the end. Red Bull got me into F1, but they also stopped me being there in the end.
“It was always very complicated. Luckily my family never had to spend much money, but still I knew in karting that to move up to Formula Renault 2.0 it was going to cost at least €500,000 to be with a good team. You can go cheaper but you wont win the championship, and that was always the objective.
“I chose not to go into Formula 2.0 and instead I did the French Formula Campus, which is now French FIA F4. I got help from the French motor sport federation to do it and I won the series. It was a good season with lots of wins, and that gave me the chance to do the Red Bull driver shootout, where 20 drivers were tested.
“I was the best driver along with Daniel Ricciardo, and from then on Red Bull always backed me, so I only ever had to find a few sponsors. I was really lucky with Red Bull because they managed my career and always put me in a good championship and in a good team.”