In the wake of comments made by the powers that be at Red Bull, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that Jean Eric Vergne will be promoted to the soon to be vacated seat with the world champions, but accorind to his current Toro Rosso boss he will stay in Formula 1.
Speaking at then end of the first free practice day in Hungary, team principal Franz Tost told media, “I’m convinced that Jean-Eric Vergne will race next year for Toro Rosso. We must not forget that Jean-Eric came later into F1 [than Daniel] and why Red Bull Racing is thinking about racing with Daniel Ricciardo next year, it’s simply because he is more experienced, he showed very good performance in the first half of the season but Jean-Eric Vergne is quite close to him. It’s not that Jean-Eric is out of the team. As far as I’m thinking, next year he is with Toro Rosso.”
Apart from Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen is the other candidate being considered by Red Bull. But according to Tost the decision on who will succeed Webber is still to be made by management.
“We will see. It’s not decided yet from Red Bull but we must not forget Dietrich Mateschitz and Red Bull bought Minardi in those days to give young drivers from the Red Bull driver pool a chance to come into Formula 1,” said Tost.
And added, “Toro Rosso is the team to educate young drivers and I see it as positive because it shows that a) drivers are skilled and b) that the team has done so far a good job – and therefore if they choose Daniel I am quite happy with this decision.”
Should Ricciardo’s seat become available it is pretty certain that a driver from the current Red Bull junior ranks will be promoted – top of the queue would be Antnio Felix da Costa and Carlos sainz Junior.
Tost would not confirm where the next Toro Rosso driver would emerge from, “We will see. We will discuss together with Red Bull. If there is a driver from the Red Bull driver pool of course we will take him. And if this is not the case then we will look outside. Currently I think there are some skilled drivers within the Red Bull driver pool.” (GP247)