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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