The out of control French Bull
Watch out! There’s a bull running wild. Last year his stampede trampled the competition in British F3. This season he is on the world stage, as in World Series by Renault. And after three rounds he is leading the charge.
Welcome to the world of Jean-Eric Vergne. The 21-year old was only four years old when his father introduced him to karting. His passion and speed has propelled him to the Red Bull Arena where talented drivers are put on a fast track for a make or break your career.
Vergne has been a winning driver since his first year in single seater racing. He won the 2007 Formula Renault Campus Championship with 6 wins and 10 podium finishes from 13 races, amassing 189 points, and an amazing 89 points more than series runner-up Fabien Rosier.
In 2008, he raced in Formula Renault in the French, Euro Cup and WEC (West European countries) Championships; winning the home version with six victories and was the top Rookie in the other two championships.
Vergne raced to four wins and second place finish in the 2009 Formula Renault Euro Cup. He was runner-up in the WEC variant; winning three times and making 11 podium appearances in 14 starts.
Last year was a dream season for Jean-Eric Verge. He became the first French driver to win the British F3 Championship. Racing with Carlin Motorsports in a VW-powered Dallara he took 13 wins, 11 poles and 20 podium finishes from 30 races. He also recorded 13 fastest laps.
His most impressive display of domination was at Spa-Francorchamps where he won all three races of the weekend.
Vergne was then called up for three rounds of World Series by Renault after Kiwi driver Brendon Hartley was let go by Red Bull. In only six starts with Tech 1 Racing he delivered four podium finishes including a win.
His appearance in the prestigious Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort was marked by fourth place finish and fastest lap of the race.
Red Bull has placed their drivers in this year’s World Series by Renault in different teams. Pre-season favorite and man who finished runner-up last year, Daniel Ricciardo, is with Czech-team ISR, while Vergne is re-united with Carlin and feels so good after taking over the championship lead last Sunday at Monza.
The 2011 season did not, by Vergne’s standard, start on a high note. In the opening round at Aragon he could only manage sixth place finish in race one, which was won by Alexander Rossi. In the second race Vergne finished seventh while his previous team, Tech 1 Racing, took the win with rookie Kevin Korjus of Estonia.
Round two was at Spa-Francorchamps and Carlin team had the competition fully covered. Canadian Robert Wickens taking the win over teammate Vergne in race one and the two swapped position in race two.
In the most recent round at Monza Vergne was second to Korjus in race one of the weekend, and in Sunday’s race two scored his fourth consecutive podium finish behind race winner Ricciardo, his first of the season, and Rossi.
Vergne had won the race on the track but was penalized 10-seconds for cutting a chicane, leading the Frenchman to comment, “As far as I’m concerned I won the race! I drove the whole race with a damaged front wing and I finished with my tires really destroyed. I defended my place and I think the penalty’s a bit harsh, but there it is. The important thing today is that we’re in the points and what I proved on the track.
“With Carlin, we’re here for the title.”
Watch out. Alguersuari and Buemi.
— Nasir Hameed
Greetings and Le Cali regards.
Photos. World Series by Renault and Paolo Pellegrini