Jean-Eric Vergne says the mentality at Toro Rosso has changed over recent years as it looks to compete higher up the grid.

With its status as Red Bull's sister team, much of the focus at Toro Rosso has previously been on giving young drivers their first chance in F1, with the team finishing no higher than eighth in the constructors' championship over the last five years. However, this year team principal Franz Tost said the experience of Vergne - who begins his third season with the team - allied to a new rookie gives the team a stronger driver line-up to progress.

Technical director James Key also believes Toro Rosso will have the structure in place that he wants by the end of the year. Based on his team at the team, when asked by Crash.net how much it has changed, Vergne replied: "I think it changed a lot.

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"Especially from last year to this year the change is massive. Of course there are the new rules; we have the new engine supplier so the work relationship with Renault is a lot different. Obviously for me they're French so it is really good to be with them and to be able to talk a lot; I think the relationship is already getting quite good.

"I think the mentality has changed. It definitely wants to be a good team that can fight in the top five teams more often - compared to last year and compared to other years previously - and therefore they needed to make a lot of changes. Change in Formula One doesn't arrive in one year, it is still a long process that is going on and the curve going up is quite impressive from Toro Rosso."

Having seen how the team has developed first-hand, Vergne did admit that Toro Rosso needs to start showing that the changes are paying off.

"I really hope that this year everybody will see that it definitely improved a lot because last year I don't think was a good year for us. We haven't shown any progression even though everything in the team was changing."