Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost has called Jean-Eric Vergne the best driver to race for the Red Bull junior team and not progress onto Red Bull Racing.
Ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix Toro Rosso confirmed that 16-year-old Formula 3 racer Max Verstappen will replace Vergne, a veteran of three years at the Italian squad, from 2015, leaving the Frenchman without a drive for next season.
Both current Red Bull drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, came through Toro Rosso, but Vergne missed out on a spot at the senior team last year to the Australian, his then team-mate, who has vindicated the decision with three wins in his first year with the defending champions.
According to Tost though, who has overseen both Vettel and Ricciardo, Vergne is the best driver to not have made the jump to Red Bull Racing, and deserves his place in Formula 1.
“From the drivers so far I think he is the best, yes,” the Toro Rosso team boss said. “Although Sebastien Buemi also did a good job and is also a highly-skilled driver, which he shows at Toyota.”
“Regarding JEV I really hope he gets a seat in Formula One because JEV couldn’t show his real potential until now because of the team,” he added, “the car simply was not reliably enough.
“Therefore for the second half of the season I hope he gets the chance to show this because for me he would have deserved to stay in Formula One.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic