Jean-Eric Vergne announces split with Toro Rosso F1 team

Jean-Eric Vergne has announced that he is splitting with the Toro Rosso Formula 1 team, making Carlos Sainz Jr the favourite for the remaining 2015 seat alongside Max Verstappen

Jean-Eric Vergne announces split with Toro Rosso F1 team

Vergne had already effectively lost his seat with the team once, when it announced Formula 3 rookie Verstappen and its 2014 driver Daniil Kvyat as its '15 F1 line-up in August.

But the possibility of a reprieve for the Frenchman emerged when Kvyat was promoted to Red Bull instead following Sebastian Vettel's defection to Ferrari.

That chance ended on Wednesday, as Vergne announced via his Twitter feed that his Toro Rosso stint was definitely over.

"Despite a good season and 22 points, I'll not drive any more for Toro Rosso in 2015," he wrote.

"Thanks for those years. Let's go for another big challenge."

Vergne has raced for Toro Rosso since he and Daniel Ricciardo replaced Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari for the 2012 season.

Red Bull had previously backed the Frenchman through a junior career that included the 2010 British F3 title.

With Vergne out of the running, Formula Renault 3.5 champion Sainz becomes the most likely candidate for the second Toro Rosso seat.

Sainz has been testing for Toro Rosso's parent team Red Bull in Abu Dhabi this week.

FR3.5 runner-up Pierre Gasly is an outside contender for Toro Rosso, but is thought more likely to end up in GP2 with DAMS. He is testing for the French squad in Abu Dhabi later this week.

AUTOSPORT understands that an announcement by Toro Rosso is likely to happen next Monday.

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