Jean-Eric Vergne to leave Toro Rosso
Carlos Sainz expected to be named as Max Verstappen's team-mate
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 26/11/14 4:29pm
Jean-Eric Vergne has confirmed he is leaving Toro Rosso.
In a statement on his official Twitter account, Vergne announced: “Despite a good season & 22 pts, I'll not drive anymore for Toro Rosso in 2015. Thanks for those years. Let's go for another big challenge.”
Williams have dismissed speculation that the Frenchman could join the team as their new third driver as a replacement for Felipe Nasr following the Brazilian's promotion to a race seat at Sauber.
Toro Rosso have already named Max Verstappen as one of their two drivers for 2015, with the teenager poised to become the youngest driver in history when he debuts in March's Australian GP at the age of 17.
The appointment of Daniil Kvyat as Sebastian Vettel's successor at Red Bull had appeared to offer Vergne a lifeline at Toro Rosso following the team's initial declaration that Kvyat and Verstappen would be their 2015 driver line-up.
However, despite the 24-year-old's strong finish to the season, it appears that Toro Rosso, Red Bull's feeder team, are intent on introducing another fresh face to the grid. The team revealed in October that they had drawn up a short-list of Vergne, Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly and Alex Lynn to be Verstappen's team-mate.
Sainz, recently crowned champion of Formula Renault 3.5, ran for Red Bull on the first day of the post-season Abu Dhabi test and is the overwhelming favourite ahead of Gasly and GP3 champion Lynn to partner Verstappen next year.
Vergne finished the 2014 campaign a respectable 13th in the Drivers' Championship after scoring 22 of Toro Rosso's 30 points during the year.