Apr 4, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT
Jean-Eric Vergne has set his sights on partnering Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull in 2014.
Following the “Multi 21″ scandal at the Malaysian Grand Prix, Mark Webber’s days with the team appear to be numbered, and it is unlikely that Red Bull will opt to renew his contract which expires at the end of the season. This has sparked much debate as to who will replace the Australian driver, and although Vergne is keen on taking the seat, the Frenchman admits he needs to improve his performances.
“I am in Toro Rosso at the moment. I deserve my place and I have to prove it to everyone by getting results,” Vergne told Totalrace.
“If my performances are good, I’ll get a spot at Red Bull.”
Toro Rosso has acted as a ‘sister team’ to Red Bull since its inception in 2006, with Sebastian Vettel spending eighteen months in Faenza. However, the triple champion is the only driver to have made the step up, whilst Scott Speed, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Sebastian Bourdais, Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi have all been dropped by Toro Rosso.
Many expected Vergne and teammate Daniel Ricciardo to meet a similar fate after a disappointing 2012 season, but they were give a second year by the team. Vergne has admitted that he must excel not only to be in the running for the seat at Red Bull, but also in order to remain with Toro Rosso.
“Otherwise, they [Toro Rosso] will replace me and I’ll lose my place.”
Vergne opened Toro Rosso’s 2013 account last time out in Malaysia, finishing 10th to score one point. If he can build on this performance, he could yet beat the likes of Nico Hulkenberg and Antonio Felix da Costa for the second seat at Red Bull in 2014.