Jean-Eric Vergne insists that he doesn't see his debut F1 season as a battle against team-mate Daniel Ricciardo to secure a drive with Red Bull.
The pair joined forces at Toro Rosso
after the team elected to switch its driver line-up for 2012, with Red Bull
known to be interested in promoting one of its young drivers into the Red Bull
line-up when a slot becomes available.
While Vergne and Ricciardo would appear to be the prime candidates, the Frenchman insisted that he wasn't looking as his season as a Red Bull
audition but was simply focused on the job at hand.
“Some people will tell you that we are in a fight for the Red Bull
cockpit, but I don't see that right now,” he told the official F1 website. “I am racing for Toro Rosso
and I want to help make the car a points contender. I have no interest finishing in P15 ahead of him. I'd rather finish in P4 behind him if that meant I had a quicker car.
“Did I just say finish behind him? No, I don't think that I would like this! (laughs) Only the part about fighting at the front is true. Forget about the rest…”
Vergne has picked up four points so far this season from his first four races but he admitted to mixed emotions about the way his campaign has panned out.
“Well, yes and no,” he said when asked if he was satisfied. “Yes, because I think it's quite good, and no, because I think it could have been better. Of course I could use the excuse of being a rookie, but I don't want to because I've made some mistakes that should not have happened to a driver, no matter what your status. I actually don't believe so much in that rookie status thing. I am a fully-fledged driver.
“It is a bit different [to other series]. But in the end it's just cars and tracks and engineers - like in every race series. It has bigger dimensions but the job is the same. There is someone in front of you and you want to pass them. It's that simple. Sure, the complexity of the cars is much greater than, for example, a GP2 car and also there is a bit more mystery behind it. One weekend you are really fast and the next weekend you are nowhere - with the same car, the same crew - and you are looking desperately for answers why. Other series are much smoother.”