If there was ever a man who was driving to earn a seat, it was Jean-Éric Vergne this weekend at Formula E. He may have been taken out of contention due to a suspension failure, but taking pole and battling for the lead in his Formula E debut says one thing to his ex-team in F1: PFFFFFFFFTTTTT!
PFFT! is, of course, the sound of a raspberry, the international symbol for "nanny-nanny boo-boo." Vergne is still at the top of his game and is clearly having the last laugh.
Andretti, of course, has big meaty tentacles in both Formula E and IndyCar, so a move from one team to the other for a full season seems entirely plausible.
Formula E is no mere vacation home for racers who can't hack it elsewhere. Even more so than IndyCar, names from recent Formula One seasons litter the entry list: Sebastién Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari, Nick Heidfeld, Jerome d'Ambrosio, Bruno Senna, Lucas di Grassi, Jarno Trulli, and of course, Guy Who Enters Everything Nelson Piquet, Jr.
To be honest, I'd rather see some of those guys in F1 over some of the latest crop of pay drivers. F1's lost is FE's gain.
Vergne went out in the first qualifying session for the Punta del Este ePrix. The first qualifying session was before the track started to clean up and rubber in, and Vergne still set an untouchable 1:15.408 qualifying time. He had never driven the Spark-Renault race car before this weekend, either.
In the race, Vergne was just as hungry to prove himself. Wheelspin at the beginning made him fall behind Nelson Piquet, Jr., but Vergne made short work of getting back in first place after the first dozen laps of the race.
Unfortunately, Vergne's high power use forced him to pit earlier than his competitors, causing him to lose the lead. The safety car came out for Stéphane Sarrazin's crash in the chicane. Vergne was ready to jump ahead of leader Sebastién Buemi to reclaim his lead on the restart, but unfortunately, he had to retire due to broken front suspension.
Fellow former Toro Rosso driver Sebastién Buemi finished in first place in the end, with Nelson Piquet, Jr., in second and Lucas di Grassi in third.
Toro Rosso, you done screwed up.
Photo credit: Getty Images