Jean-Éric Vergne has admitted that he was left feeling upset by Red Bull’s decision not to hire him as a replacement for Mark Webber next season, but he believes that it was sensible for them to shortlist teammate Daniel Ricciardo as their option from Toro Rosso due to his greater experience in F1.
Following Webber’s announcement at Silverstone that he would be leaving F1 at the end of the season, Vergne was shortlisted along with Ricciardo and Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen for the seat. However, Christian Horner confirmed a few weeks ago that Vergne was no longer in the running, leaving the Frenchman slightly despondent.
“I was a little upset that it was him and not me, which is a normal reaction,” Vergne explained to French publication Auto Plus. “But then the leaders of Red Bull explained things clearly to me.
“Daniel has more experience in F1 than me, so it’s part of the logical process. I had a long discussion with the management of Red Bull Racing and everything is now very clear between us. I do not need to read the news to find out what they think of me.”
Ricciardo and Vergne both joined Toro Rosso at the beginning of 2012, but the Australian driver had completed eleven races for the now-defunct HRT F1 Team in 2011, giving him greater experience.
Vergne’s reaction to the rejection is understandable, but he has been assured of his place at Toro Rosso for next season. Despite this security, Vergne will question just how much further he can go in the Red Bull programme if there is no future for him with the defending world champions.