The French driver graduated to F1 after proving his talent in lower formulae, winning the British Formula Three Championship in 201 and five races in Formula Renault 3.5 the following season, when he doubled up with test-driver duties at Scuderia Toro Rosso. The next year he made his race debut with the team and drove for it over the course of the following three seasons. But after failing score a single podium finish, let alone a checkered flag, Vergne lost his ride for next year.
Now Jean-Eric has signed with the Andretti Formula E team, and will make his electric debut at the Punta del Este ePrix this coming weekend in Uruguay. There he'll have plenty of competition from other former F1 drivers, including Lucas di Grassi, Nelsinho Piquet, Jerome D'Ambrosi, Karun Chandhok, Bruno Senna, Jarno Trulli and Nick Heidfeld, as well as Sébastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari (who also drove for Toro Rosso), and Franck Montagny, his countryman and new team-mate at Andretti.
"It's not often that you get to race at this time of the year," said Vergne in a statement. "I am really looking forward to this opportunity, especially given its location in a place like Punta del Este. Although I have no experience in this new series, I am excited about the prospect of racing in Formula E, and racing for such a prestigious team as Andretti."
Formula 1 driver to race in Formula E's Punta del Este ePrix
INDIANAPOLIS, USA (December 8 2014): The Andretti Formula E Team have today announced that Frenchman Jean-Éric Vergne is to drive for the squad at this weekend's FIA Formula E Championship Punta del Este ePrix.
"It's not often that you get to race at this time of the year," said Vergne. "I am really looking forward to this opportunity, especially given its location in a place like Punta del Este. Although I have no experience in this new series, I am excited about the prospect of racing in Formula E, and racing for such a prestigious team as Andretti. As always, the main objective of the weekend is to stay out front and finish the year on a high note. The weekend will be a little like a journey into the unknown, but it is a journey that I am thoroughly looking forward to!"
The 24-year-old has three seasons of Formula One experience and has participated in seven championships throughout his career, recording 40 victories and 68 podiums. The 2010 British Formula 3 Champion will join fellow countryman Franck Montagny to complete the Andretti Formula E two-car line-up for the American team led by Michael Andretti.
"We're really happy to put JEV (Jean-Éric Vergne) in the car for Punta del Este," said Andretti. "He has great talent and we think he'll pair well with our team for competitive results. I also think having interest and participation from respected F1 drivers shows great strength and the true potential for Formula E as a series and World Championship."
The Punta del Este ePrix will mark the Formula E debut for Vergne, who competed full-time on the Formula 1 circuit with Scuderia Toro Rosso where he ranked 13th in the 2014 F1 Drivers' standings. The previous two rounds in the inaugural all-electric racing series saw the team's full-season championship driver Montagny, as well as Charles Pic and reserve driver Matthew Brabham in competition for Andretti.
For more information on Formula E visit www.fiaformulae.com.