Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne may have lost out on the coveted second Red Bull Racing seat to Daniel Ricciardo, but it appears that despite the snub, he’s learning an important lesson in patience that could pay dividends for him in 2014.
Vergne, who is now partnering with Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat at STR, recently told British F1 broadcaster Sky Sports that he’s learned to maintain a positive outlook with the mid-field team instead of being frustrated over not always being in contention for wins and podiums.
“Probably my biggest problem when I arrived in Formula 1 was to be too impatient,” Vergne told Sky. “When you arrive from – every category since karting you are used to winning everything and to be really in a bad mood when you finish second or third on the podium. I was this kind of guy; I was always fuming when I was not winning a race.
“When you arrive in Formula 1 and you’re fighting for P10 in this team, it makes things really difficult. And it took me a really, really long time to try and understand that it was a really good result to finish P10 or P8 and have a positive spirit.”
This year, Vergne had a strong sixth-place outing in Canada but other good results such as those were in short supply – his three points-paying finishes (including a 10th in Malaysia and 8th in Monaco) all came in the first half of the season.
That wasn’t enough against Ricciardo, who used his solid qualifying efforts to pound out seven finishes in the points and eventually earned the right to run opposite four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull in 2014.
The outcome caused Vergne to do some soul searching, but he feels that he is greater for having endured that experience.
“…It was a big disappointment I had to go through,” he added to Sky. “Then I had to look in the mirror and say, ‘Why did Red Bull pick [Ricciardo] up and not me?’ I think that helped me a lot in trying to be better.”
Vergne sets out to have a stronger 2014 today, as he and Kvyat begin a three-day test session for Pirelli in Bahrain alongside Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.