Jean-Eric Vergne: “There’s a special feel about racing in America”

After a promising qualifying at Sochi three weeks ago, the Scuderia Toro Rosso team fell away during the race with both Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat missing out on points. They arrive for the United States Grand Prix hopeful of finishing inside the top ten this weekend, with Kvyat in particular looking forward to the event, one year after making his F1 bow at the circuit during free practice.

Vergne arrives in Austin unsure whether his car will suit the circuit, but has been showing good form in recent races even if the results were not there to show it. He was running competitively in Russia before being forced to slow to conserve fuel, and hopes to score some valuable points this weekend as he bids to save his Formula 1 career.

“I really enjoyed going to Texas, I love the place and on top of that, the Circuit of the Americas itself is a great track to drive,” said Vergne. “There’s a special feel about racing in America and the paddock has a good atmosphere to it. The fans are enthusiastic and there is always plenty of support from all the Mexicans who come to follow this race to boost the local crowd numbers.

“I’m not sure how our car will perform there, but hopefully we will have a good pace and enjoy a successful weekend. I know the first corner is visually impressive when you look up at it from the pits, but in the car it doesn’t feel particularly special. To be competitive here you need all the usual things, good aero downforce and a powerful engine as there is a long straight. There are no special secrets to doing well at this track.”

Kvyat made his first appearance in a Grand Prix at Austin twelve months ago when he ran in free practice, and feels more like a veteran after being close to the time of his 2015 Red Bull Racing team-mate Daniel Ricciardo during his time on track. He likes the fast flowing nature of the American circuit, and can’t wait to get back out there for a full weekend this year.

“I have very good memories of Austin last year,” said Kvyat. “It was a very exciting time for me and now it’s hard to believe that already one year has gone by since that weekend in America. I feel like a veteran now! It’s a special place for me because that’s where I first was part of a Formula One Grand Prix weekend, even if it was only driving the Friday morning session. I was reasonably quick there, maybe a couple of tenths off Daniel (Ricciardo) although I wouldn’t be happy with that this time round.

“It will be good to go back there therefore. The track itself is very nice, fast with lots of challenging high speed corners, which I like. The track has plenty of up and downs with the first section featuring some corners that remind me of Silverstone. I enjoyed going to America last year and I’m looking forward to eating some steak!”