Jean-Eric Vergne has revealed that Red Bull Racing went against their word when deciding who was to replace Sebastian Vettel, with Daniil Kvyat being given the drive instead of the Frenchman.
Vergne had already been informed that Max Verstappen was to replace him in the Scuderia Toro Rosso team for the 2015 season, a decision that he accepted, but he was told that should Vettel leave, he would be first in line to replace him.
But when the German made the move to Scuderia Ferrari, it was decided by the Red Bull bosses to promote Kvyat instead of Vergne into the Red Bull line-up alongside Daniel Ricciardo, leaving the Frenchman with no option but to leave, ultimately to join the FIA Formula E championship.
“In the summer I got a call from Red Bull saying that they would put Max in the car,” said Vergne to Crash.net. “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’.
“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 [disadvantage]. Later on, when Vettel left, it was after my good races that I had done.
“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.
“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.”