Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne believes 2014 Red Bull snub has made him a 'better' driver
Frenchman tells Sky Sports F1 he has learned a lot during 2013
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 17/12/13 2:29pm
The young Toro Rosso pair, along with Kimi Raikkonen, were publicly named by Red Bull team boss Christian Horner as the three men in the running to partner Sebastian Vettel in 2014 after Mark Webber announced his plans to retire in June.
Although Ricciardo and Raikkonen were always considered the frontrunners for the coveted seat, reflecting in Sky Sports F1's Toro Rosso season review show Vergne admitted the Red Bull hierarchy's decision to promote his Australian team-mate had come as a blow to him.
"It was a disappointment of course not to go to Red Bull. As a racing driver you want to win races and be World Champion, and for this you need the best car - and Red Bull is the best car," Vergne explained.
"So it was a big disappointment I had to go through. Then I had to look in the mirror and say, 'Why did Red Bull pick him up and not me?' I think that helped me a lot in trying to be better."
Although there were initially some doubts in light of Red Bull's decision whether Vergne would be retained by Toro Rosso for a third season, the 23-year-old ultimately stays on for 2014 to partner the incoming 19-year-old Daniil Kvyat.
Vergne believes Toro Rosso, who are switching to Renault engines for the sport's new V6 regulation era, remains the perfect place for him and the former British F3 champion and Renault 3.5 runner-up says he is now in tune with the mindset at the midfield team.
"There is no other team I'd like to be with. First of all I stay in the Red Bull family and I really believe in the team. We have good plans for next year and the year after," Vergne said.
"I love this sport. Obviously I would love it a lot more if I was running at the front but sometimes you have to be patient. It's what I'm trying to do.
"Probably my biggest problem when I arrived in Formula 1 was to be too impatient. When you arrive from every category since karting you are used to winning everything and to be really in a bad mood when you finish second or third on the podium. I was this kind of guy; I was always fuming when I was not winning a race.
"When you arrive in Formula 1 and you're fighting for P10 in this team it makes things really difficult and it took me a really, really long time to try and understand that it was a really good result to finish P10 or P8 and have a positive spirit."
And after failing to score points in the final 12 rounds of this year, Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost believes Vergne can re-emerge stronger in his third year of F1.
"Jean-Eric Vergne has a lot of potential and I'm more than happy he's with us next year. If we provide him with a good car he will show a very, very good performance," Tost predicted.