Posted on October 31, 2012
Toro Rosso

Following on from the confirmation by Sauber this morning of Nico Hulkenberg as one of its drivers for 2013, Red Bull junior team Toro Rosso has this afternoon advised that it will stick with its current young driver pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.

The pair have had a stronger second half to the season, with a double points finish in Korea. Vergne has had the stronger results with three 8th places, while Ricciardo has been in the points five times this season.

Red Bull tends to give its young drivers at least a couple of seasons in the Toro Rosso team to establish whether they are “winners” in the eyes of Helmut Marko, the director of the driver programme and Franz Tost, who runs the team.

Last winter they dropped Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari in December, but this year they have decided to confirm the drivers early.

With Mark Webber signed on for another year, but unsure how much longer to continue beyond that, a strong 2013 season for either Ricciardo or Vergne could lead to a Red Bull seat for 2014.

Although the Toro Rosso car has not been as competitive this year as last, the arrival of James Key as technical director recently has had a galvanising effect and the 2013 challenger is likely to give both drivers more of a chance to compete.

Tost said, “Both drivers have done a good job this season. Daniel joined us with a few Grands Prix under his belt and so his feedback and experience was particularly useful while Jean-Eric got up to speed, often having to deal with tracks he had never seen before. Since the summer break, both drivers have scored more points and everyone in the team has been impressed with their maturity in terms of working with the engineers and their racecraft on track. We will be doing our best in the next few months, to produce a 2013 car which will allow them to demonstrate their talent.”

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Three 2013 seats confirmed in one day: Toro Rosso stick with Ricciardo and Vergne
41 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: TitanRacer
        Date: October 31st, 2012 @ 6:32 pm 

    I have not been a Torro Rosso fan for a few years now. however, I am really glad for its 2 current drivers to get another opportunity. with any luck 1 or both can make an impression from “maybe” to “I want this guy”. good luck and best wishes to both!

    [Reply]

    KGBVD Reply:

    Agreed, its definitely hard to be a fan of this team. Revolving door race seats and rumours of Tost screaming at staff and even putting his hands around Scott Speed’s neck!

    I miss Minardi.

    [Reply]

    RodgerT Reply:

    To be fair to Tost, I think a lot of American F1 fans wanted to choke Speed for being such a jerk.

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: Seán Craddock
        Date: October 31st, 2012 @ 7:50 pm 

    James I’m surprised not to have heard any rumours about Davide Valsecchi. I know he’s doing the YDT with Lotus, but no news on a race seat.

    There are limited seats left and it’s looking like that for the 1st time ever the reigning GP2 champion won’t get a decent race seat (Bar Pantano although he’d already been in F1). Williams seems like the only team that might which would involve dropping a driver.

    Any news on him?

    [Reply]

    @Damien_Marquez (GrandPrixAdvisor.com) Reply:

    I think he is viewed as being a little too old by the paddock.

    I suspect he’ll end up the way Pantano did.

    [Reply]

    Seán Craddock Reply:

    too old??? He’s only 25! Same age Grosjean and Glock were when they won?

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Rich B.
        Date: October 31st, 2012 @ 8:26 pm 

    Jean-Eric Vergne has been a bit of a let down for me, he needs a much stronger second year. not sure either of them are as good as webber yet.

    [Reply]

    Rich B. Reply:

    oops i missed a word – i meant let down

    [Reply]

    5reasonreviews.com Reply:

    I would probably tend to agree – although I think an issue is that everybody keeps measuring the Torro Rosso drivers performance against how Vettel went there. That is really the key test in my mind and I feel that it is going to be hard for anybody to live up to this

    [Reply]

    Jordan Reply:

    No point comparing any TR driver to Vettel’s time there, unless they’re allowed to start using a Newey chassis again.

    [Reply]

    michael grievson Reply:

    +1

    [Reply]

    Liam in Sydney Reply:

    I doubt either of them are as good as Webber, but then again this is what the second full year is all about. To see if there is any late blooming in their performances, and whether speed and consistency improves – particularly bearing in mind there will be no major rule changes to re-adapt to. Personally I think Ricciardo has the inside line so far to the Red Bull Racer seat, if at all.

    [Reply]

    Simple Reply:

    Webber took a long time to mature as a racer tho. He was a great qualifier, but his racing consistency took him a while!

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Louis.M
        Date: October 31st, 2012 @ 8:34 pm 

    It may been a poor year for Jev but he’s still in front of his team-mate, who gots a semi year in his bag so if he get the thing in qualy, he’ll be quite something

    [Reply]

    Doohan Reply:

    Daniel would be infront bar a failure on the last corner at monza and his suspension failure in Korea.
    Hopefully in the end of year debrief they look at that and not just the amount.

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Rob Newman
        Date: October 31st, 2012 @ 9:08 pm 

    None of the Toro Rosso drivers have done anything exceptional like Vettel did at Toro Rosso. Vettel got noticed the very first day he stepped in to an F1 car. They will get into a Red Bull car only if Red Bull doesn’t have an option. Other than that I don’t think any one of them really deserve a Red Bull seat.

    [Reply]

    BenM Reply:

    Vettel had much better machinery than either of the current drivers do.

    Evidence?

    Vettel has shown to be slightly better than Webber in their time together.

    If you look at 2008 when Vettel drove for STR, his average finish excluding retirements was 7.2. In the same year the average best finish for the best of the two RBR drivers was 8.3. Allowing that Vettel is a slightly better driver than Webber the results indicate that the STR was at least as good as the RBR car that year.

    Much easier to “star” when you have the equipment.

    [Reply]

    Bart Reply:

    “Vettel has shown to be slightly better than Webber in their time together.”

    Slightly? When he’s scored 218 points more in 3 years, even with all those mechanical DNFs in 2010?

    And about being the “star”. Red Bull finished 7th in the constructors, STR 6th. Vettel shouldn’t have finished higher than 11th in the WDC, given that 5 teams (Ferrari, Mclaren, BMW Sauber, Renault adn Toyota had better cars than Red Bull or Toro Rosso. He exceeded those expectations and finished 8th in the standings.

    [Reply]

    Alessio Reply:

    remember vettel hopped into a toro rosso that was pretty much the same car as the red bull of the time – and with a better engine than the red bull!

    then they changed the rules after that to stop them using the same designs.

    it’s an unfair comparison to make on the guys, as the scenario was quite different back then.

    that said, vettel took advantage of the car he had!

    [Reply]

    Martin Reply:

    I think what Red Bull are looking for has a lot to do with delivering in qualifying and then having consistent race pace as the next step. The previous STR drivers lacked the one lap pace to get to the first corner first in a top car.

    I’m having a hard time judging what kind of job Dan’s doing in qualifying as Saubers, Williams and Force India’s are very variable in performance. JEV’s been the most obvious candidate for worst qualifier of the year. The team will know exactly how close the drivers are to the ultimate potential of the car.

    The race performances in terms of pace favouvred Vergne early on. Now the balance seems to be a bit towards Ricciardo.

    Cheers,

    Martin

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: kenneth chapman
        Date: October 31st, 2012 @ 9:21 pm 

    i am very glad that ricciardo has been able to get another year in F1. this lad has talent and speed and he has shown a remarkable degree of aggressiveness without the usually attendant crashes….he has race craft and given a fast set of wheels i have no doubt that he can reach the top step sometime in the future.

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: MichaelWilson
        Date: October 31st, 2012 @ 9:29 pm 

    Would be pretty easy to see just how fast they are compared to Vet/Web, just throw them in the RB8 for one practise session and let them rip around in the big boys cars for a bit.

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: Chromatic
        Date: October 31st, 2012 @ 9:38 pm 

    I recall that excellent correction he made in heavy rain to avoid going off and into the barriers during practice in Germany more than any of his drives. More highly rated drivers did not do so well that day.

    [Reply]

    Chromatic Reply:

    Mr J E Vergne, I mean

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: tom in adelaide
        Date: October 31st, 2012 @ 11:11 pm 

    Can we get a new livery on the Toro Rosso next year? A car based on the sugar-free can colours would look great.

    [Reply]

    Chris of Adelaide Reply:

    Agreed! Would love to see the Red Bull and Torro Rosso looking a little more different then each other.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Plus one

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: Jordan
        Date: November 1st, 2012 @ 12:09 am 

    This is great news. I’ve found it disappointing that people have been saying that JEV has outperformed DR based purely on championship points. I think DR has consistently been the better qualifier and racer of the two, but mechanical issues have lost him points – minor as the points may have been, they would be enough for him to be above JEV in the championship.

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: Ricky_B
        Date: November 1st, 2012 @ 1:38 am 

    Hi James,

    I’m glad to see there will still be to Aussies in the line up next year.

    What do you think about the 2nd seat at Lotus? Would there be any chance of Robert Kubica returning to F1 and being Kimi’s team mate?

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: thejudge13
        Date: November 1st, 2012 @ 2:30 am 

    Further to your enlightening revelation yesterday of the Ferrari – La Stampa connection. Was Alonso wise today to criticise the publication – saying they had written lies and were not being fair to their readers? http://wp.me/p2HWOP-jn

    Is this another example of people (inc Alonso) just not getting Ferrari and its history – Where there should be logic there is passion and pride, where there should be order there is politics and self obsession, where others exude the desire to win, Ferrari are content to bask in the glory that is Ferrari.

    I laughed out load a lot (is that ‘lolal’?) at @hairs comment on F1Fanatic today, “Luca de Montezemolo has been involved with the race team for decades, with a slight break here and there, but he embodies what Ferrari really is as a culture: pride, touchiness, passion, arrogance and self delusion. Only when he relinquished control to Todt did the team spend its energy racing instead of infighting, posturing and waffling”.

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: Adrian Newey Jnr
        Date: November 1st, 2012 @ 2:52 am 

    Surely Daniel has underperformed this year compared to his teammate? Lets not forget that he was given seat time at HRT in preparation for this season. Yet J-E has matched / bettered Daniel’s results. A lot of people have said Daniel was the favourite to take Mark’s sport, but in my mind J-E is the leading contender.

    [Reply]

    GarryT Reply:

    Seat time in a HRT now that’s funny, a dog of a car and team , driving around the track having to move off the racing line all the time to let other cars pass.

    [Reply]

    Tom in adelaide Reply:

    Are we watching the same F1 here??

    [Reply]

    Robert Reply:

    Daniel really impressed me a few races ago when he kept Michael Schumacher (on fresher tyres) at bay to the line for a number of laps, something Kimi was not able to do a few years back and made a mistake (“the only driver to slip on oil”, on the racing line in a corner in that race will leading the race.) I now that you cannot compare the Ferrari with the Merc, but neither can you compare that year’s McLaren with the TR performance wise.

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: Scott
        Date: November 1st, 2012 @ 3:12 am 

    Vergne has been poor at best. Lacks speed in qualifying, lacks race-craft & has been lucky with race strategy – qualifying at the rear will force some “outside the box” thinking.
    In contrast, Ricciardo has shown excellent pace in qualifying in an under performing car, shown consistency & had much worse luck with reliability.

    [Reply]

    ForWhatIt'sWorth Reply:

    +1

    DR has been a lot faster in qualy and his race lap times are consistently faster than JEV’s.

    Only let down by strategy and mechanical problems.

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: Craig
        Date: November 1st, 2012 @ 5:50 am 

    I think with Ricciardo’s speed shown in both the races and qualifying during the season and with more consistent finishes he is a good replacement for Mark when he decides to call it a day.
    Verne has had an up and down year and falling out in Q3 so many times does not look good in his favor.
    I hope Daniel gets the Red Bull seat when it opens up. He has a down to earth attitude and always appears to be enjoying his opportunity, i don’t think i have seen this guy not smiling even in the most unfortunate of circumstances he is always looking at the positives and not dwelling on what happened.

    [Reply]

    SCS Reply:

    Scenario ? vettel moves on in 2014 though he says he wont’t. Webber signs on to do 2014 with RBR, DR fills Vettel’s seat with Webber mentoring him that year. 2015 Webber retires, and JEV moves upto RBR.

    Oz fans get to see DR and MW drive alongside one another …..can only wish.

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: BenM
        Date: November 1st, 2012 @ 6:50 am 

    Not really surprising to see them both confirmed for next year.

    It will be very interesting to see how they fare against each other next year when JEV knows all the tracks.

    I’d say on balance that DR has had the upper hand this year even though the points score might suggest differently. Especially in qualifying. He struggled race pace wise in the first half of the year against JEV, but seems to have steadied the ship in the back half of the year.

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: Elie
        Date: November 1st, 2012 @ 8:35 am 

    Good news for DR and JeV – thank goodness Torro Rosso did not do what they did last year and gave their young drivers a chance to perform. I don’t know if Hulkenburgs move was purely a financial one I would have thought Sauber are no better off than Force India. He has driven brilliantly this year and really deserves a better drive- I bet Lotus must have considered him .

    [Reply]

    Martin Reply:

    Hi Elie,

    With Nico, Lotus’s lack of Ferrari engines might have had something to do with where he ended up. Ferrari will now have access to a lot of performance data on Nico.

    Jaime and Sebastian had 2.5 and 3 years to show what they could do. A lack of one lap pace compared to the top drivers was clear. It would have been better to have told them earlier though.

    Cheers,
    Martin

    [Reply]

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