HOCKENHEIM 17th July, 2014 (F1Plus / Graham Keilloh) - The Red Bull young drivers’ programme is known for being cut-throat. Drivers are often discarded ruthlessly, while for each driver in the programme it never seems to take long for the next contender to emerge, possibly to usurp them.
Indeed, the latest driver from the Red Bull ‘conveyor belt’ Carlos Sainz Jr. confirmed in recent days that he had been approached by the new management of the Caterham team to fill an Formula One race seat there, possibly as early as during this season.
Current Toro Rosso drivers Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne insisted however that they are not feeling any pressure from this.
Upon being asked about Sainz’s rise and whether he felt any resultant pressure he Kvyat stated confidently: ‘No, to be honest. I don’t care who’s going to be my team mate.
‘My team mate right now is Jean-Eric Vergne’ Kvyat added, ‘we have a good working relationship with him, I think we understand each other quite well so I am happy to share my collaboration with him. “Pressure” is not the right word – if my (new) team mate comes it doesn’t change my car or take away the talent from me.
‘You always have to have a big challenge; it’s always a good challenge to have a strong team mate. In my case I’m lucky to have a strong team mate this year with whom I can have a really good comparison, it’s really important.
'We know with who Jean-Eric has been compared to last year and all-in-all it’s a good comparison. But I don’t compare myself as much as you guys do.’
For Vergne too he considered Sainz’s rise as business as usual.
‘I haven’t heard anything that he will come (to an F1 team) next year or whatever,' said Vergne.
;I think he’s doing a good job in World Series – he has to win obviously! As all the Red Bull drivers we’ve been at the same school you know, they put you in the best team in a good category and you have to win – that’s the first thing!
‘I think he’s doing a good job, but I don’t worry too much. I’m doing the job I can at Toro Rosso, so far we think it’s going well and I see no reason why this should change for next year.
'Right now my focus is really on this race and the race-after-race, and I think if we keep working like this I don’t see any reason why things will change for next year.’
Vergne was also confident of another strong weekend for the Toro Rosso team, including getting into the qualifying top ten.
‘Now the mentality has changed a little bit in Toro Rosso, last year we were extremely happy when we were in Q3, now more often we are quite down after the quali because we missed out on an opportunity on Q3 like in Silverstone. It’s good, I like it, we are fighting more, and the spirit is changing in a good way.’