Toro Rosso announce unchanged lineup for 2013

It’s been a busy day on the driver market with Toro Rosso following Sauber’s hiring of Nico Hulkenberg by confirming that Jean Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo will remain with the squad for 2013.

The team has struggled for much of the current campaign but their decision shows that their confidence in their young drivers remains unchanged. Both Vergne and Ricciardo have been supported by Red Bull throughout their careers with the Austrian energy drinks companies having bankrolled their junior careers.

Upon the announcement Vergne, who had been under pressure for most of the season, was clearly delighted and relieved to have his future confirmed:

“I am really happy about this great news,” he said. “Thank you Toro Rosso and thank you Red Bull, who have backed me since the early days of my career. It has been a difficult season and, as a rookie, I have learned a lot, thanks to the support I got and the excellent relationship I have enjoyed with all the guys.

“I feel much stronger now and I know I have become a better driver over the course of the season. I really believe in this team and with all the experience I have gained, combined with the team’s ambitious plans for next year, I think we can look forward to great things in 2013, attacking all the way.”

For Ricciardo the news was not surprising with the Australian, who has been touted as a Red Bull driver in the future, having raced well in 2012 even though he has been hampered by his car. The Australian made his debut last year for HRT at the British Grand Prix so his career to date has been hampered by a poor machinery but he has clearly shown a level of performance over the course of the last year including scoring nine points this year:

“I am really pumped to know that I am continuing with Scuderia Toro Rosso for another season and want to thank the team and Red Bull,” Ricciardo said. “There are big expectations for next year and I’m ready and willing to fulfil them.

“I feel I have been growing and developing as a driver and my approach to the technical side of the sport has also progressed this year, so I am sure that will serve me well in my second season with Toro Rosso. We have had quite a tough season, but despite that, I have always enjoyed a good relationship with all the guys and I am delighted at the idea of working with them for another year.”

Toro Rosso has been waiting for another Sebastian Vettel like driver to fall into their laps through the Red Bull drivers programme and while it is debatable that they have found one in the form of either Vergne or Ricciardo both have shown a promising turn of speed and enjoyed strong races throughout the current campaign.

Toro Rosso have been growing in recent years with the team evolving from a Red Bull customer squad to a bone fide constructor and team boss, Franz Tost, made it clear how important Ricciardo has been in helping the team and Vergne come up to speed this year:

“Both drivers have done a good job this season. Daniel joined us with a few Grand Prix under his belt and so his feedback and experience was particularly useful while Jean-Eric got up to speed, often having to deal with tracks he had never seen before,” said Tost.

“ Since the summer break, both drivers have scored more points and everyone in the team has been impressed with their maturity in terms of working with the engineers and their race craft on track. We will be doing our best in the next few months, to produce a 2013 car which will allow them to demonstrate their talent.”

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