The pressure on Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari to start performing for Scuderia Toro Rosso has been upped after Red Bull's driver development head Helmut Marko identified Jean-Eric Vergne as being next in line to break into F1.
Though Buemi and Alguersuari have secured deals to race with STR in 2011, both are believed to only have firm contracts for part of the year, with Daniel Ricciardo – recently confirmed as the team's Friday test driver – tipped to graduate to a race seat should neither driver fulfil their performance objectives.
However, Red Bull is already making plans beyond Ricciardo, with Marko suggesting Vergne, who tested for STR during the recent 'rookie tests', will be the scheme's next driver to crack F1.
“What we want now is another driver into F1 who can win,” he told French publication Auto Hebdo
. “Jean-Eric might be the one! He has a completely different character to Seb, but that's ok so long as his performance is there.”
Twenty-year-old Vergne dominated the British Formula 3 Championship this season with 13 wins in 30 races, while the Frenchman also claimed eighth in the World Series by Renault standings despite only competing in six races.