Red Bull 'proud' of Vergne's Formula E success but F1 return isn't possible

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Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko won't consider Jean-Eric Vergne for a Formula 1 return despite being "proud" of his success in Formula E.

The Frenchman raced at junior team Toro Rosso between 2012 and 2014 before being dropped and finding refuge in the all-electric series, initially with Andretti Autosport and then with DS Virgin Racing.

A move to Techeetah for Season 3 was when results began to flow, including his first win, and Vergne has since gone on to become the only two-time Formula E champion, winning back-to-back titles.

"Vergne is now winning in Formula E, but the requirement profile isn't comparable to what we need in Formula 1," Marko told Motorsport-Total on if a comeback was possible.

"If he returned, he would be a complete rookie. It takes a whole season just to get used to the characteristics of the Pirelli tyres."

That being said, the Austrian does take pride in seeing former Red Bull stable members winning in other categories.

"We are very satisfied with that and proud of it," he added. "We are now being copied on a large scale by others, but no one comes close to the success we have achieved."

Interestingly, his comments come at a time when Red Bull appear increasingly thin in terms of top-level drivers on their books.

Max Verstappen is of course the star name while Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon do have potential, but most juniors are still emerging in F4 and F3 with only Yuki Tsunado in F2.

As a result, in recent years, Daniil Kvyat and Brendon Hartley had to be recalled to Toro Rosso but as Marko explains, Red Bull's turnover of drivers comes from different motivations as they rise up the ladder.


"Many of our drivers [who haven't reached F1] still earned good money and were able to turn their hobby into a profession," he said of those like Vergne, Sebastien Buemi and more recently Dan Ticktum.

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"Isn't that wonderful? That was actually our philosophy at the start: the junior team would be a sort of safety net because everyone knows how expensive motorsport is.

"Dieterich Mateschitz therefore mainly wanted to support talents to help them to rise higher, but then we suddenly got two Formula 1 teams and then it became clear that our approach, to support someone who was just reasonably successful, was not enough.

"Then we went in a different direction. The selection became stricter, you had to at least have the potential to win a Grand Prix."