Vergne: I still have Red Bull chance
3 August 2013 – Toro Rosso driver Jean-Éric Vergne has revealed that he was disappointed to miss out on testing with Red Bull at the Silverstone Young Drivers Test, with the senior squad instead favouring team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. However, following internal discussions with senior management, he is remaining defiant about his prospects of replacing Mark Webber for the 2014 season.
Despite sitting two points ahead of Ricciardo in the Drivers’ Championship, Vergne has been forced to endure the sight of the Australian racking up four Q3 appearances in each of the last four races, and has fallen out of the limelight in comparison. Speaking candidly about his situation, the Frenchman says that while initially upset, after speaking with Red Bull chiefs he now accepts the Milton Keynes-based outfit’s reasoning for choosing to evaluate his team-mate.
“I was a little upset that it was him and not me, which is a normal reaction,” Vergne said of his omission from the Silverstone test. "But the management at Red Bull have clearly explained things. Daniel has more experience than me in Formula 1, so that is part of the logical evaluation process. I had a long discussion with the management about it and everything is very clear between us. I know their requirements and I did not need to read the news to find out what they think of me.”
Speaking more directly about his future, Vergne says that while he is content at Toro Rosso, he still considers himself to be in contention in the race to replace Webber, although recognises that he must prove that he can consistently outperform Ricciardo in the second half of the season.
"I would be very happy to continue my collaboration with Scuderia Toro Rosso,” he began, before adding: “on the other hand it would be a lie to say that the opportunity to take the wheel of Mark is not yet in a corner of my mind ... I still have my chance and I'll play hard. "