Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost has revealed just what he is looking for in an F1 driver for the Faenza concern, but stopped short of confirming whether anyone has met the standards for 2014.
Despite being tipped to offer Antonio Felix da Costa the chance to replace Daniel Ricciardo next season, Tost remained tight-lipped except to sing the praises of various Red Bull protégés as he outlined the qualities he expected prospective F1 pilots to bring to his team.
“The best one is always when he finds the right-hand pedal and pushes it – that's quite good,” he smiled, “Generally speaking, he has to be skilled; he has to have talent. For example, currently the Red Bull drivers, all the drivers from the Red Bull driver pool, have won a championship when they were racing in a lower class. [Sebastian] Vettel, for example, in BMW junior; Daniel Ricciardo as well as [Daniil] Kvyat and [Carlos] Sainz won in the Renault 2.0 litre championship; Jean-Eric Vergne won the English [F3] championship, as far as I know, with the highest number of victories.... That means this is a good basis where they showed their talent.
“This is the first point. The second point [is that] they must be patient. That means, if a driver is coming to Toro Rosso, he has to live F1 365 days a year. There should be nothing around that disturbs him and he has to be 100 per cent concentrated on this job.
“The next important point is discipline. Discipline does not only mean he arrives in time for the meetings, discipline means also that, for example, in qualifying, he does not overdrive the car; that he respects the schedule for his physical training; that he respects all the important facts of nutrition and that he respects what the engineers tell him.
“The next important point is innovation. He should think first how he can beat, at first his team-mate and, for second, all the other competitors. That he must think in advance; that he must be well prepared.
“All these factors together decide together whether a driver becomes successful and wins races and championships or not, and we are looking for this.”
Asked specifically whether there had been any move towards finalising his line-up – STR already says it would be happy to retain Jean-Eric Vergne for a third year – Tost remained somewhat more tight-lipped.
“We will see, the season's not finished yet,” he pointed out, “There are some races to go and then Red Bull will sit together and then we will decide. Of course, [there are] the Red Bull drivers - da Costa, Sainz and Kvyat – and then we will see where we end up...”