Could Vergne replace Webber?

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News that Jean-Eric Vergne is being considered as a possible replacement for Mark Webber should come as no surprise.

The Frenchman starred in the junior formulae, winning the British Formula Three championship in 2010 and finishing runner up to Robert Wickens in Formula Renault 3.5 the following year.

As a Red Bull junior who showed good potential he was promoted to the Toro Rosso Formula One team in 2011.

Toro Rosso exists as a sort of finishing school for Red Bull’s youth programme; those that pass with honours graduate to the senior Red Bull team like Sebastian Vettel, while those who do not are discarded like yesterday’s news.

Vergne was handed the seat at Toro Rosso because Red Bull’s driver advisor, Dr Helmut Marko, believes he has the potential to race for the Austrian squad’s senior team.

If Marko did not believe that Vergne would either have never reached Formula One, like Brendan Hartley, or have been quickly dispensed with like Jaime Alguersuari.

The more easily led publications are now joining the dots and making a headline out of the fact Vergne could be a replacement for Webber, citing the twenty-three year olds excellent drive to sixth place in Canada was impressive.

He comprehensively outperformed teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who could matter no better than fifteenth, at an important time of year.

Approaching mid-season teams are now beginning to look at their driver line-ups for 2014. Mark Webber has been on a rolling one year deal for most of his Formula One career, but while he is still fast he is perhaps not at the level he was at in 2010.

Furthermore after the shenanigans of the Malaysian Grand Prix the veteran could well turn his back on Formula One altogether.

That would create an opening into which presumably the Red Bull management team, i.e. Dr Helmut Marko, would want to slot one of his blossoming youngsters.

That is why talk of Jean-Eric Vergne in relation to Webber’s seat should come as no surprise, just as talk of one Australian replacing another shouldn’t, for it is the very reason both have jobs.

Roarers, what do you think?

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