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Vergne: All maxed out?

NEWS STORY
19/08/2014

The signing of Max Verstappen signals end of the F1 road for Jean-Eric Vergne as the Frenchman becomes latest victim of Faenza outfit's pick 'n' mix approach.

It is ironic that when he lines up on the grid in Melbourne next March, Max Verstappen will break the record currently held by Jaime Alguersuari, that of being the youngest ever driver to contest a World Championship Grand Prix.

Currently, the Spaniard holds the record having started the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix at the ripe old age of 19 years 125 days. Verstappen will line up on the Albert Park grid aged around 17 years 166 days.

Whilst Toro Rosso can proudly boast that it kick-started the F1 careers of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo - though BMW and HRT might have something to say about that - what of those whose F1 careers came to an abrupt end in Faenza, the likes of Scott Speed, Sebastian Bourdais, Sebastian Buemi and Alguersuari.

Over the years the Red Bull 'B' team has proved a hard task master and whilst some of those drivers mentioned probably weren't up to the standard of fellow apprentices such as Vettel and Ricciardo, were they really that bad, were they really given a fair crack of the whip?

Whilst Vergne seems destined to join Alguersuari in Formula E or Bourdais and Buemi in WEC, it wasn't that long ago that he was widely considered the next big thing indeed, for a time he was linked with Mark Webber's (soon to be vacant) seat at Red Bull. While, despite the limitations of the equipment at his disposal, he hasn't blown us away it is clear that Vergne has pace.

Ignoring the many short comings of the STR9, let's not forget its woeful reliability, not least where the Frenchman is concerned, having finished just 6 times from 11 starts.

Yes, Daniil Kvyat has been mighty impressive, but perhaps Vergne is another driver, like champions Vettel and Raikkonen, who is still getting to grips with the new formula.

And whilst we lament the bleak future facing Jean-Eric, especially at a time when it is increasingly vital that drivers are able to provide funding, let's spare a thought for young Max.

The pressure on those 17-year-old shoulders will be enormous next season and despite his meteoric rise through the ranks there are bound to be mistakes. Sadly, Toro Rosso is not known for its patience.

Chris Balfe

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by TokyoAussie, 21/08/2014 4:49

"Max may also become the youngest driver ever to be dumped from F1. His career may effectively be over while still a teenager."

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2. Posted by Kkiirmki, 20/08/2014 11:14

"Ironic???"

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3. Posted by LifelessDead, 19/08/2014 17:50

"And what about Carlos Saints Jr. he will likely the be first Red Bull junior driver to win the WSR championship! Something both Ricciardo and Vergne missed out on to two by then ex-Red Bull juniors.
Nope, patience is indeed something they're not known for, but it's just about the only chance you can get these days."

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