Former Red Bull driver opens up: "I knew that was Max Verstappen"

27-10-2021 14:56 | Updated: 27-10-2021 17:58
F1 News
Former Red Bull driver opens up: I knew that was Max Verstappen

Formula 1 is a ruthless sport that is only reserved for a few drivers. That it's a tough world is proven by the story of Jean-Eric Vergne, who had to make way for both Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz.

Vergne had to make way for Verstappen

"In the summer I was called and told that I would be replaced by a younger driver. I knew that was Max Verstappen," Vergne told the Beyond the Grid-podcast. "That's just how the game works, there was no more room at Red Bull Racing. I hadn't spoken to any other team because I belonged to the Red Bull family, that was maybe a mistake on my part."

"I was at Toro Rosso to go to Red Bull one day," the Frenchman continued. "After three years, there was no place available and Helmut Marko told me it was over at the end of the year. I was happy that he told me so early in the season, but at the same time it was also my biggest problem that it was announced so early. After all, if Sebastian Vettel decided to go to Ferrari, it would have looked bad to then bring me to Red Bull."

No more room for Vergne

However, Marko was confident that Vettel would remain loyal to Red Bull. When the German announced that he would be making the switch to Ferrari after all, it appeared that Vergne was no longer at the top of the list. "Right after that they announced Daniil Kvyat, without having spoken to me about it", he says.

Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost wanted to keep Vergne on to have an experienced driver alongside Verstappen, but Red Bull blocked that as well. "There was another promising young talent in the form of Carlos Sainz, who they put in Kvyat's place when he went to Red Bull. That was a bit complicated for me. I wish Helmut had handled it the way he usually does and waited until the last race of the season, because by then I was in a better position than Kvyat," Vergne said.

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