Jean-Eric Vergne has rubbished rumours that Toro Rosso will look to replace him at the end of the season.
Vergne has seen fresh doubts cast over his future at Toro Rosso in recent weeks as a result of his rookie team-mate Daniil Kvyat’s impressive start to the season, along with Red Bull junior starlet Carlos Sainz Jr’s strong form in Formula Renault 3.5, which sees the Spaniard lead the championship after four rounds.
The Monaco Grand Prix marked Vergne’s fourth retirement in 2014, and he is yet to add to the four points he scored for eighth at the season opener in Australia, while Kvyat – the 2013 GP3 champion – in contrast has finished in the points three times in what is his maiden season of Formula One.
Meanwhile, Sainz Jr – son of Spanish rally legend Carlos Sainz – secured dominant back-to-back wins at last weekend’s FR3.5 round at Spa-Francorchamps on his march to the series title, which can only serve to raise further concerns over the safety of Vergne’s F1 seat.
Yet, when pressed on the fact that no driver has ever spent more than three seasons at Toro Rosso before being dropped – as was the case for Sebastien Buemi at the end of 2011 – the Frenchman replied: “Well, if the situation is as you say it is, then there is little to do. I’ll go home now,” he joked.
“Seriously, I do not believe that these situations can be reduced to an evaluation of statistics,” he told Italiaracing.
“At Red Bull and Toro Rosso, they have never been afraid of leaving aside drivers they do not believe in anymore, but if they had lost faith in me I think they would have let me go at the end of last year,” he explained.
“If they did not, and I’m still here, it is because they believe in me and my abilities.”
For Vergne, he sees no reason why after three years Toro Rosso would pull apart a relationship that in his opinion works well.
“As I have said, my integration with the technical staff of the team has developed significantly and the results show that it is bearing fruit — something that the team takes fully into account.
“As for me, I feel at home, as if the team is my family, so I don’t think they have the intention to pull apart a package that works.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic