Jean-Eric Vergne believes he still has a chance of landing a drive with Red Bull, despite the team testing Daniel Ricciardo instead of him at Silverstone last week.
Red Bull replaced Mark Webber with Ricciardo for last week’s test, where the Toro Rosso man shared the “race driver” tire duties with Sebastian Vettel.
That prompted suggestions that Red Bull has narrowed down its 2014 choice to Ricciardo or Kimi Raikkonen, but Vergne told AUTOSPORT at Spielberg on Sunday that he feels he is still in contention for the seat.
“I still believe in my chances,” said Vergne, who was demonstrating a Red Bull at a World Series by Renault event. “There is of course a chance. I would love to drive for Red Bull. But so far it makes no sense for me to think about it. It won’t help me.”
Vergne added that he could understand the fuss surrounding Ricciardo’s test.
“It’s been a big story for him of course,” he said. “It’s normal.
“I don’t want to think about anything for next year, any chance that I could go to Red Bull Racing whatsoever. You lose focus, and you lose some energy, so I want to keep it all for this year with Toro Rosso.”
The team will use Ricciardo’s run in the Red Bull to benchmark Vergne’s relative performances, meaning that the Australian’s outing will indirectly allow it to evaluate the Frenchman further.
BACKING RICCIARDO OVER RAIKKONEN
Vergne hopes that if he does not land the drive, Red Bull will choose fellow junior driver Ricciardo over Raikkonen as that will raise the Frenchman’s stock.
“If they have made their mind up that it should be between Daniel and Raikkonen, I would definitely prefer Daniel to go there,” he said. “That is quite good for me because I can beat him. I did it this year when I didn’t have problems. Then I just have to show the right people that it was not a one-off.”
Vergne also believes that he can repeat his strong performances from the Monaco and Canadian Grands Prix if he has less bad luck.
“I’ve been massively unlucky this year,” he said. “Obviously, not everybody can see it, and maybe some people don’t want to see it, they just want to see the result, which I understand. But the facts are there. Hopefully from Budapest the problems will leave me alone and I will get some great results like I did in Monaco and Canada.
“Everybody in the team knows I can do it. I could have done many races like Monaco and Canada, they were just the only races where nothing went wrong.”