Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne will both stay on with Scuderia Toro Rosso next season, it has been announced.
The pair were brought in to replace Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi but have managed just 21 points between them – 16 points fewer than at the same stage last year. Much of that, however, can be put down to the fact that the team has struggled to get the best out of the STR7, and team boss, Franz Tost is adamant they have done enough to justify keeping their seats.
To date, Vergne has scored the most points, 12 to Ricciardo's nine, and he has also had the better finishes, three eighth places, versus four ninths,
“Both drivers have done a good job this season. Daniel joined us with a few Grand's 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,” Tost explained.
“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 and Vergne meanwhile are both pleased to get a second full-season and are keen to make the most of it.
“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. There are big expectations for next year and I'm ready and willing to fulfil them,” Ricciardo stated. “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.”
Vergne echoed those sentiments: “I am really happy about this great news. 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.”