Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost believes Jean-Eric Vergne is the best driver to be leaving Toro Rosso and not moving to Red Bull.
It was announced ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix that Vergne will be replaced by Max Verstappen in 2015, with the 16-year-old moving in to F1 after just one season of single-seater racing. With former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo having moved up to Red Bull at the start of this year, Vergne's future is uncertain but Tost says he is the best driver to not be promoted.
“From the drivers so far I think he is the best, yes,” Tost said. “Although Sebastien Buemi also did a good job and is also a highly-skilled driver, which he shows at Toyota.”
As a result, Tost says he feels Vergne deserves a seat with another team next season.
“Regarding JEV I really hope he gets a seat in Formula One because JEV couldn't show his real potential until now because of the team; the car simply was not reliably enough. Therefore for the second half of the season I hope he gets the chance to show this because for me he would have deserved to stay in Formula One.”
Defending Toro Rosso's decision to replace Vergne, Tost said it was not because he isn't a good enough driver.
“Don't forget the philosophy of Toro Rosso. It's the team for the young drivers and after three years you are no longer a young driver.”