IS THIS THE END FOR VERGNE? Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne has announced that he will not be racing for the team in 2015. Image: Tom Gandolfini
LONDON, England - Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jnr looks like he is going to race in Formula 1 in 2015 as the replacement for Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne who said on Nov 26 he had left Toro Rosso.
He told followers on Twitter: "Despite a good season and 22 points I'll not drive for Toro Rosso in 2015. Thanks for those years. Let's go for another big challenge."
Toro Rosso has already signed 17-year-old Dutch driver Max Verstappen, son of former F1 racer Jos, for 2015. The team had intended to partner Verstappen with Russian Daniil Kvyat but that plan fell through when four-times F1 champion Sebastian Vettel announced he was leaving Red Bull to join Ferrari.
Kvyat was promoted to the former champion team, leaving 24-year-old Vergne hoping for a reprieve given Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost having said the team would benefit from having one experienced driver.
However others in the Red Bull hierarchy were more in favour of bringing through another youngster from its drivers' programme. Vergne has been with Toro Rosso for three seasons and was in contention in 2013 for the Red Bull drive that went to his then team mate Daniel Ricciardo instead.
Sainz, son and namesake of a former World Rally champion, has been testing for Red Bull in Abu Dhabi this week after winning the Formula Renault 3.5 title.
Toro Rosso has Abu Dhabi-owned Spanish oil company CEPSA as a sponsor.