Exclusive interview with Jean-Éric Vergne
2 August 2014 – The summer break allegedly sees Formula 1 drivers take a step back from the world of racing. But earlier this week, a Red Bull and the streets of Assen were waiting for Toro Rosso's Jean-Éric Vergne. GPUpdate.net sat down with the Frenchman to discuss his season so far and look towards the future.
How do you rate the first half of season?
I have had a good first half of the season. There were some positives and some negatives. The negative is that we had too many retirements. The positive is that every time I had a retirement I was always in the position to score points. So that is a good thing, you know. I think we could have scored a lot more points, but we still have the second half of the season to get all those points. So I'm quite confident, also that the team can give me a more reliable car and that it can even go quicker.
What do you view as your highlight so far?
I think the last race in Budapest was very good. I really enjoyed running in the front with those other guys. That was a nice feeling and it makes me want to have more of those moments in the second part of the season.
Toro Rosso seems to be a bit closer to Red Bull this year. How does that feel?
It [the gap] is still quite big. They have a really good car and what they are doing is really impressive. But we are not too far behind. We are getting there. We need a bit more performance to say that we are on a similar level.
You've got a new team-mate in Daniil Kvyat. How is life alongside him?
It's OK. Nothing special. He's a quick driver and he has been doing good so far. So that's good for the team.
What's your main goal for the remainder of the season?
To keep pushing like we're doing and to continue in that same way and to score as many points as possible.
Looking to the future, there have been discussions about a return of the French Grand Prix. What is your view on the situation? Do you think it is realistic?
I would love for that to happen. It would be a great thing. There are three French drivers in Formula 1 so that would be beautiful. France has a great pedigree in motorsports. To have Formula 1 coming back, I think everybody would love it.
Is it strange to see France missing, with countries such as Azerbaijan arriving?
No, it's not weird. We know that these countries pay a lot of money to receive Formula 1 and France isn't what it used to be. It isn't as rich as it was before. We have a different politics. I don't really know much about it. All I know is that I hope that France will come back on the Formula 1 calendar.
Would you like the race to be at Magny-Cours or would you prefer a different circuit?
I don't care, I don't care. As long as it's in France, I'm happy!
How do you view the popularity of Formula 1 in France right now?
I think it lost a little bit. But if the French Grand Prix comes back, I think it would grow again. We have three French drivers and an engine manufacturer which won many titles in the last few years, so the potential is there.
There's a lot of talk about making Formula 1 more popular. What do you think needs to be done or are you happy with the sport as it is?
(Long pause) The people who hold the sport have all the cards in their hands and I'm trusting the decisions they make. But I love Formula 1 as it is.
Have you already had time to think about 2015?
Not really, no. I'm really focused on this year. And I believe only the best will happen if I continue to do good.
Perhaps the future could provide a car with a similar livery to the one you drove here in Assen?
It would be a dream to be in a Red Bull car. It would be great to fight for wins and so on. I would love it.