- Toro Rosso
Missing out on Red Bull drive was a good thing - Vergne
Jean-Eric Vergne believes he is a stronger driver having missed out on promotion from Toro Rosso to Red Bull over the winter.
Vergne enters his third season in Formula One with Toro Rosso this year after seeing team-mate Daniel Ricciardo promoted ahead of him to partner Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull. However, after some soul searching over the winter, Vergne believes he is now a stronger driver than he would have been had he been given the Red Bull drive.
"Back at that time I thought there would be a chance [to drive for Red Bull in 2014]," he said. "I'm not sure we want to go through the whole story again, but obviously it was a difficult moment to go through. I took it a little bit as a loss and bad luck, but when something is bad, everything can become bad around you.
"I really took the time this winter to look myself in the mirror and realise things, and I realised it was actually good for me not to have gone to Red Bull, I believe. I'm happy to be here and it's made me a lot stronger as a driver because, as I saw myself last year compared to this year, I was a really weak driver in the head.
"I believe that if I would have gone to Red Bull it would have been like a win for myself, and all the work I have done this winter I don't think I would have done it in the same way. That would have been a bad surprise to then fight against Sebastian [Vettel]."
Toro Rosso has had a high turnover of drivers in recent years as those who have failed to make the grade have made way for the next wave of Red Bull juniors. But Vergne wants to buck that trend and work with the team to push it up the grid.
"I see Toro Rosso as having really big potential," he said. "To be honest, I'm extremely happy about being in this team this year. I think I am in a good position with Toro Rosso and I think they have really good plans in the pipeline.
"If you are not able to be in a top team like McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari, then it's definitely the best team to be in. I really believe in this team and I believe in myself as well and I don't see this as the last year at Toro Rosso. If I improve a lot as a driver then I see good potential for myself. If I see the progression with the team I will be more than happy to continue with this team."