Formula 1 driver Jean-Eric Vergne and the Toro Rosso recently parted ways after three seasons together, and the 24-year-old Frenchman says he’d like to continue his career in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
“I would be really interest in racing in America in IndyCar; I think it’s a great championship,” he said. “I’m working with a manager who works with a few drivers in America, Julian Jakobi, and at the moment, it seems like it is quite hard to go to a top team right away, but I am very interested to see what type of seats are available.”
Known by many as “JEV,” the 2010 British Formula 3 champion leaves F1 after recording his strongest season to date, scoring points on seven occasions, a career best 6th-place finish in China, and 13th in the standings, one position behind Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Rather than fight to stay with a smaller F1 team, racing on equal footing in IndyCar is a major motivation for the personable Vergne.
“I’m not really bitter to leave Toro Rosso; I have some other options in Formula 1, but I want to get back into a series where I can win races and win championships. My target is to go for the IndyCar championship my first year,” he said.
JEV has already been in contact with Andretti Autosport, and plans to connect with Ganassi Racing, among others, to see what options exist for 2015. Formula 1 drivers have excelled in Indy car racing for decades, with legendary names like Jim Clark, Emerson Fittipaldi and Nigel Mansell displaying their mastery of road racing while learning the decidedly American art of oval racing to their immense set of skills.
With the majority of IndyCar races held on road and street courses, a road racing specialist like JEV believes he would go through the same process, delivering at most rounds while getting up to speed on ovals.
“I don’t pretend I would win everything, or have an easy time on the ovals; it’s a lot to learn coming from Europe, but many European drivers have become quite good on ovals with some experience, and with so many road courses and street races, I know I can be very effective,” he noted.
Verge’s also confident he would be an asset as Chevy- and Honda-powered IndyCar teams develop brand-new aero kits that will debut at Round 2 in St. Petersburg next season.
“Testing new aerodynamic pieces, suspension components and everything else is something we do every weekend in Formula 1,” he said. “This is something I enjoy very much; development is very big for the success of the team, the success of the manufacturer, and this is an area I have with a lot of experience.”
Provided he can find the right team and environment, JEV says a move to IndyCar could reignite his career.
“There aren’t so many teams to go to that I can win a championship right away, but this doesn’t stop me from looking and talking to team owners to see if we can do something together,” he added. “I have always loved racing in America, and I have always been very interested in IndyCar. The timing is very good right now to make this happen.