Jean-Eric Vergne believes he deserves a second chance with Toro Rosso after Daniil Kvyat was promoted to Red Bull.
Toro Rosso had previously named Kvyat and 17-year-old Max Verstappen as its drivers for 2015, but Sebastian Vettel's decision to leave Red Bull saw Kvyat named as his replacement. With a seat now available again at Toro Rosso, Vergne admits he doesn't know if he's in the frame to stay but believes his performances this season would justify his retention.
“This situation is difficult for the team,” Vergne told Crash.net during an exclusive interview
. “I don't know what will happen, if they will take another young driver or not. Obviously the decision is not up to me and all I can do is keep showing strong results.
“Everybody knows I should have had a lot more points without the technical issues. I hope that at least Red Bull can give me another chance because I think with all the bad luck that I've had, all the problems, I would deserve that. I'm doing everything to deserve it.”
And Vergne says that recent results such as sixth in Singapore and climbing from 20th to the points in Japan – a race he calls “the toughest weekend I ever had” – have shown that he has the mental strength to succeed at the highest level.
“I think I've proved enough. I will keep doing my best but I wouldn't be here if I had to prove things. Do you see what I mean? Look at Daniel [Ricciardo], we were the same. He's been there [at Red Bull] because he was better in quali and probably stronger mentally but that's something I improved massively this year and if I was not stronger mentally then all the last races I probably would never have done it the way I did.”
However, Vergne says he owes his whole F1 career so far to Red Bull and can't complain if the team opts for another young driver.
“Thanks to Red Bull I'm here. I'm still a Red Bull driver, I'm part of this family more than ever. Without Red Bull I would not even be in this F1 paddock. So it doesn't matter the decision they take, I will always be grateful to them. I don't know what the decision will be, but there's nothing more I can say really.”