Jean-Eric Vergne has revealed that he could drive a Ferrari F1 car after tyre supplier Pirelli was granted extensive testing ahead of the 2017 regulation changes.
A recent meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council [WMSC] officially ratified the proposal: "The changes will allow 25 car days of testing with current cars, fitted with 2017 tyre sizes, in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
“In addition, there will be an opportunity to test prototype 2017 tyres (in 2016 sizes) on 2013 or 2014 cars – these tests on older cars only apply in 2016.”
Vergne, who joined Ferrari as development and test driver ahead of the 2015 season after spending three years in a full-time role at Toro Rosso, told French broadcaster Canal+ that the WMSC's decision could open up opportunities for him in the future.
“That’s incredible to be part of the Scuderia and I learn a lot by their sides,” the 25-year-old said. “There’ll certainly be an opportunity to test later this year, obviously not on a a grand prix weekend but maybe during future Pirelli tests.
“I learn a lot next to Seb [Vettel], Kimi [Raikkonen], and all the Ferrari team members. It’s really important to be embedded with them. Plus, you never know what can happen, just look at Alonso at the Australian Grand Prix… It can happen to anybody so I am ready at any time.”
Having suffered a heavy crash in Melbourne, the McLaren-Honda star was ruled out of the following race weekend on medical grounds, with reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne stepping up to the plate to replace the injured Spaniard.
Besides his Ferrari F1 commitment, Vergne is competing in the all-electric Formula E series with DS Virgin. Incidentally, the Frenchman will take part in the inaugural Paris ePrix this weekend.