Formula 1

Jean-Eric Vergne saved by fresh Red Bull approach

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Vergne will be joined by Russian Daniil Kvyat in 2014 (©GettyImages)
Vergne will be joined by Russian Daniil Kvyat in 2014 (©GettyImages).

A different approach to racing is the reason Jean-Eric Vergne is staying at Toro Rosso for a third season, according to the Frenchman.

After seeing his 2013 team-mate Daniel Ricciardo be chosen to replace Mark Webber at the main Red Bull team, some were surprised the 23-year-old Vergne didn’t suffer the same fate as Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari and be dropped in favour of another member of the Red Bull young driver programme.

However, instead only Russian teen Daniil Kvyat has been drafted in to replace the promoted Ricciardo as another leading driver on Red Bull’s roster Antonio Felix da Costa switches to DTM.

“The picture with Toro Rosso is that it was a team that has drivers for a year or two but then they have to move on, so it’s like a stepping stone team,” Vergne told the Spanish sports daily Marca.

“But I think the philosophy has changed lately because Toro Rosso wants to go a step higher.

“Now, the feeling is that you can spend more time with them, developing for some years together. So I think that if I’m still with them, it’s because they believe I can give them something that other drivers cannot,” said Vergne.

Indeed for the new V6 era beginning in 2014 Toro Rosso are switching from Ferrari engines and joining the main Red Bull team in using Renault units.

That could mean the so-called junior team could jump up the order and close the gap to the senior team, however without the influence of top designer Adrian Newey it is highly doubtful the Italian team could challenge the Austrian world champions.

Indeed looking ahead to next season, Vergne still believes Red Bull will be the team to beat as aerodynamics will still have a large role to play despite the new power units.

“Aerodynamics is always the key,” he said.

“I think Red Bull is still the favourite. They’ve been working on the new car for a while and I think it will be very strong — but it will be an interesting year,” added Vergne.

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