As IndyCar Testing Continues, Free Agents Vie for Final Spots

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Nov 1, 2014; Austin, TX, USA; Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne (25) of France during qualifying for the 2014 U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jean-Éric Vergne

Upside: A Formula One veteran, Vergne knows all about developing cars, a key skill with new bodywork coming into the IndyCar Series. His aggressive driving after penalties in Singapore and Austin’s F1 rounds showed an electrifying side to Vergne, who previously dominated the British F3 championship that has also yielded IndyCar names like Hélio Castroneves and Takuma Sato.

Though dropped from Scuderia Toro Rosso, Vergne outscored his teammate, Daniil Kvyat, 22 points to eight. While paired with Daniel Ricciardo, the only non-Mercedes driver to win a Grand Prix last year, Vergne scored 29 points to Ricciardo’s 30 in a very even matchup.

That talent translated into an impressive Formula E debut with Andretti Autosport.

Questions: Vergne has signed with Scuderia Ferrari as a test and development driver. Add that to his Formula E commitments and his availability for a full season of IndyCar comes into question. He was not at the Sebring test last week, nor is he testing at NOLA Motorsports Park this week.

Verdict: Vergne’s obvious link is to Andretti, but don’t expect a whole year’s program. If rumors that the fourth Andretti car will rotate drivers are to be believed, Vergne might factor in.