Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne is pleased with his start to the season, and he is keen on taking this good form into the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend.
The Frenchman spoke of the need for a “big push” in his blog on the Toro Rosso website.
“It’s not long now until we’re back in F1 action in Spain, where I’ll be hoping for a big push in this European phase of the season,” he said.
“Looking back over the first four races I would say that while it hasn’t been fantastic there are positive signs. We have a strong team of good people and they are working well together.
“The car is essentially competitive too, which was shown with my result in Malaysia and Dan’s points in China.”
Vergne finished in P10 in Malaysia, whilst teammate Daniel Ricciardo recorded his best ever result in F1 after finishing 7th at the Chinese Grand Prix. However, the team then endured a disastrous weekend at the Bahrain Grand Prix, with Ricciardo not scoring and Vergne retiring from the race, although the Frenchman considers this to have been an anomaly.
“We had a pretty poor outing in Bahrain but I think this was an aberration. Daniel’s car was the slowest on track in the race and that’s just not right, as he is definitely not slow. Clearly there was a problem elsewhere.
“You have to think about it like this: a car does not go from finishing seventh in a race to being last in the space of one week. The team is investigating it and I’m sure in Barcelona we won’t have problems like that.”
Toro Rosso has certainly made an encouraging start to the season, but quite whether this good form will continue in Europe remains to be seen. The added incentive for Vergne and Ricciardo is that they are both considered to be in the running for Mark Webber’s seat at Red Bull in 2014. Should they impress over the course of the season, they could find themselves partnering multiple world champion Sebastian Vettel next year.
Lewis Hamilton has ruled out a future appearance in the Indianapolis 500, saying he has “no real plans” to do any serious racing once his time in Formula 1 is over.
Former teammate and current McLaren driver Fernando Alonso took part in the 101st running of the Indy 500 in May, qualifying fifth and running high up the order before retiring late on with an engine issue.
The F1-to-IndyCar crossover proved to be one of the biggest motorsport stories of the year, and has stirred the imagination of other drivers to make a similar step into other events in the future, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans which is known to be on Alonso’s radar as well as that of Haas racer Romain Grosjean.
Three-time F1 world champion Hamilton admired 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato’s victory ring when on the podium at the Japanese Grand Prix earlier this month, trying it on and joking it may spur him to enter the race to try and win the jewelry.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, Hamilton stressed he made the comment in jest, saying he holds not interest in entering the ‘500.
“Honestly it hasn’t inspired me to do the Indy 500,” Hamilton said.
“I’ve always respected it and appreciated it. I got to watch part of it when Fernando did it which I thought was super exciting. I love the idea of drivers being able to do more than one series.
“Just the other day I got to drive an F1 car on an oval circuit which was interesting. I have a huge amount of respect for those drivers as it is quite scary approaching those banks at the speeds that they do.
“I personally don’t have a desire to drive it. Maybe one day I will go out and have some fun.
“I have a lot of opportunities to do those kinds of things, but no real plans to do anything serious.”
Hamilton has previously said he would like to try a NASCAR race for fun one day, but has made clear his plan after his F1 career is over is to distance himself from racing in order to pursue other interests.