Toro Rosso rookies ready for F1 promotion

Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso. Formula One Young Driver Test, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Wednesday 17 November 2010.

Jean-Eric Vergne

Feb.11 (GMM) Helmut Marko is refusing to rule out a change of driver lineup for Red Bull‘s second team Toro Rosso this season.

Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari are starting the year at the wheel of the Ferrari-powered STR5, but two highly rated Red Bull-backed chargers are waiting in the wings.

Of the pair, Daniel Ricciardo is the highest profile, testing the car at Jerez on Thursday and set to drive it on every Friday morning at the 20 grands prix this season.

But Marko, Red Bull’s inimitable driver manager, is also championing the cause of 20-year-old Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne.

“In Ricciardo and Vergne we have two outstanding talents. Buemi and Alguersuari know that their job is not a pillow, and we are not a boarding school,” the Austrian told Auto Motor und Sport.

Former grand prix driver Marko has a reputation as a ruthless manager of drivers, not hesitating to pile the pressure on Toro Rosso’s current race lineup.

“Buemi’s services last year were not what we expected of him,” he warns. “Alguersuari has developed, but is it enough?”

Marko hailed Ricciardo’s raw pace, as demonstrated at the Abu Dhabi test last November, and said Vergne’s fighting spirit is unmatched.

“If our four drivers went side by side into a corner, I guarantee Vergne would come out the other side first,” he said.