Toro Rosso pair Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo have admitted that the possibility that they could one day earn the chance to replace Mark Webber at Red Bull has been enough to ensure they can't be friends away from the track.
The pair are seen as two possible options when Webber – currently the oldest drivers on the grid – either elects to either leave Red Bull or is replaced by the current champions.
It means the pressure is firmly on the young pair to impress during the year ahead but has also ensured that they can no longer be close friends as they fight towards the same end goal.
“I don't know if it's because we are in F1 or he thinks he has definitely beaten me that we cannot have any relationship, but, no, we don't see each other away from the track and we are not friends,” Vergne told the Sydney Morning Herald
. “But to be absolutely honest, I don't mind. He's a good guy. We are both clever people.
“I have absolutely no problem with it because when it comes to the time when we need to work together to improve the car and to move the team forward, we can do this. We have a good working relationship. I don't care about going on holiday with my team-mate. I have my friends and I have enough of them and I don't need any more.”
Ricciardo added that the pair had grown apart as friends as the competition between them increased, but said that was how it should be between team-mates looking to push each other forwards.
“We've never come to blows or anything like that,” he said. “There's never been a moment which has separated the friendship - it's just grown apart with competition. I imagine we're probably like most other team-mates. We don't really talk away from the track. We're just doing our own thing. I think it's how it should be as well.
“I think when you're direct rival with someone, you want to have your own space. I think it would be sort of hard to have a true friendship because at the end of the day, we're fighting for maybe one spot and there can't be any conservative approach about it.
“So I think it's good that we keep our distance. We're very competitive and that's how it should be.”