Jean-Eric Vergne has backed himself to improve after a difficult start to his F1 career.
Almost half a season since Toro Rosso dumped its established lineup of Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, the perception is that French rookie Vergne has failed to match up against his only-slightly-more-experienced new teammate Daniel Ricciardo. The 22-year-old doesn’t see it quite like that.
“Overall it’s been quite positive even though the results don’t show it,” he is quoted by RMC Sport. “I’ve learned a lot.”
Vergne said the biggest stumbling block has been the performance of Toro Rosso’s 2012 car, and so it is in that area that the tensions lie.
“It’s not easy, there is tension,” he acknowledged. “Everyone is under pressure. When the car is better, it (the situation) will be better. But I have good people around me and they’re all there to help.”
He acknowledged that Australian Ricciardo has been better mainly in qualifying, “But I think I have improved with every race”.
“I am pushing to progress and it’s the same thing with the car. Maybe it will happen at the same time and the results will come then.”
When Vergne was told there has been particular criticism of him – even from within the Red Bull-owned camp – he sounded surprised.
“I haven’t heard that much. And I only listen to criticism from people who are close to me because it helps you to move in the right direction,” he insisted. “I am patient, and confident that by continuing to work, the results will come. When I have a good car, everything will be easier.”
Vergne denied he is racing against a deadline before suffering the same fate as Buemi, Alguersuari and other discarded Red Bull youngsters who went before him.
“Everyone needs time to adapt,” he insisted. “They tell me that Vettel had a disastrous first season with them, and after that, it started to work well,” Vergne smiled. As my technical director (Giorgio Ascanelli) says: you don’t eat a cow in one bite!”