Patience is a virtue for Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne

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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.

Provisional Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew ready for IndyCar ride

Road to Indy
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Provisional Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew has done nothing but dominate the 2019 season, winning seven of the 16 races run so far and finishing on the podium in all but two of those events.

Now all the 22-year-old Floridian needs to do to formally clinch the 2019 title is simply start the final two races of the season, both of which will be held this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

For Askew, his maiden Indy Lights season will likely be one he’ll never forget. 

“It’s been a dream come true,” Askew told NBC Sports. “Being with the championship-winning team from last year, we had a really good shot at winning it again for Andretti Autosport. It’s very rare that we show up to a track and struggle to find speed. 

“That’s a fantastic feeling, especially as a driver. That gave me a lot of confidence and hopes of holding the million dollar check at the end of the year. That was the goal going into it.”

This weekend, Askew will accomplish said goal. The championship will not only bring him a sense of pride, but also the opportunity of a lifetime. 

As an award for being crowned the Indy Lights champion, Askew will be awarded a scholarship that guarantees him entry into a minimum of three NTT IndyCar Series events next year – including the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500. 

Time will only tell which team Askew will race for in IndyCar next season, and whether or not Askew’s rookie campaign will be a full-time or part-time affair, but Askew’s performance during the last few seasons in the Road to Indy system has certainly drawn attention of IndyCar’s top team owners.

In August, Askew had the chance to drive an Indy car for the first time in his career during a test session at Portland International Raceway, driving the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda usually piloted by Scott Dixon.

“It was an opportunity with Chip Ganassi Racing that I was very fortunate to have,” Askew said. “I think with my experience in the past couple of years with Cape Motorsports and this year with Andretti Autosport, going into that test was very helpful.

“Going into the test, it was more of trying to treat it as just another day at the racetrack, when it really wasn’t. It was a fantastic opportunity for me – a great experience – and I hope I can take that into my rookie season next year in IndyCar.” 

The final two races of the 2019 Indy Lights season will take place this weekend on Saturday, September 21 at 6 p.m. ET and Sunday, September 22 at 12:05 p.m. ET. Both races will air live on NBC Sports Gold.

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