Toro Rosso will retain Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne for the 2013 Formula 1 season, they have announced today.
The duo, who both made their debuts with the team at the first race of 2012, will now have a second season to impress, and compete for a possible vacant seat at Red Bull in 2014.
“Both drivers have done a good job this season,” said Franz Tost, the Toro Rosso team principal. “Daniel joined us with a few Grands 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.
“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 racecraft 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.”
Ricciardo, who competed in 11 races for HRT last season, is aware that next season could be make-or-break for him and his team-mate.
“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,” said the Australian. “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.”
For Vergne, who made his F1 debut this season, was also grateful to the team for this extended opportunity. “I am really happy about this great news,” said the Frenchman. “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.”