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Toro Rosso: Vergne and Ricciardo in the lion cage

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Toro Rosso duel
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R ed Bull consultant Helmut Marko once said: 'Toro Rosso is not a retirement home. ' In other words, if you get a place on the Austrian soft drink manufacturer's junior team, you have to earn it. Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari were given the pass after three years of training in the top division. The news hit like a bomb in December.

Now Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo are on the test bench. They know what is in store for them when the performance is not right. But they also know what the reward looks like if the target is exceeded. The seat next to Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull is the most sought-after in the paddock. And Mark Webber no longer drives forever.

First opponent in his own camp

Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne are different types. One is a typical Australian. Relaxed, always happy, always a relaxed saying on your lips. The other appears dogged, cool and calculating. A first impression that can be deceiving. Jean-Eric Vergne is not afraid of anything or anyone.

'I feel ready for Formula 1,' he said before his first test drive in Jerez. 'I gained a lot of experience in the simulator, drove three Friday training sessions and tested the Toro Rosso and the Red Bull in Abu Dhabi.' The 22-year-old Frenchman is not considering the possibility of replacing Mark Webber in 2013. 'My opponent's name is Ricciardo. He's in the same car as me.'

Ricciardo also has the team-internal duel firmly in view. 'Toro Rosso is a midfield team. We want to finish at least seventh, or even better, sixth. And I have to make sure that I get there before my stable mate.' There is tension in the lion cage.

Toro Rosso fight in midfield

Where does Toro Rosso stand after two weeks of testing? Ricciardo does not want to commit himself yet: 'The picture is still unclear. My feeling is good. We should definitely fight in the same group that this team was in last year.' So price range Force India, Sauber, Williams.

The 22-year-old from Perth has at least one standard of comparison with Red Bull that others don't. 'We didn't get up to a tenth of Red Bull,' said Ricciardo with a broad grin. 'That would be asking too much. But if we could shorten the gap a bit, that would be a positive thingSign. '

Ricciardo's lead of eleven races

Ricciardo knows Formula 1 from his eleven outings at Hispania in 2011.' The number of my opponents was limited. I will have a lot more duels this year. 'The whole perspective will also change for Vergne.' In the Renault World Series, you drive for teams consisting of 30 to 40 people. Now there are 250 people. '

In his first season, the GP rookie wants to learn first, but doesn't dwell on it for too long.' It will be important for me to keep the number of mistakes as low as possible hold. 'The long-term goal is defined without further ado:' I don't just want to be in Formula 1. I want to be one of their best. 'Vettel did it too, and he went through the same system as Vergne and Ricciardo.

Ricciardo will not be long on his experience advantage of eleven GP starts 'I'll be a little less nervous than him in the first races because I already know what to expect,' the Australian hopes before his first Formula 1 home game in Melbourne. 'But Jean-Eric will catch up quickly. He has the bonus of doing the full winter test drives. I didn't have that last year. '

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