Jean-Eric Vergne says he hopes to thrive under the pressure of moving into Formula 1 with Toro Rosso. The Frenchman believes competing for a team of more than 200 staff will help drive him forward in 2012 – as will the fact that he is partnering fellow Red Bull protégé Daniel Ricciardo, who has the benefit of 11 grands prix with HRT from 2011 to fall back on.
"At the end of the day the driver must make the difference and bring the car home, and in a team with so many people there is obviously a bit of pressure there," Vergne said after unveiling his team's STR7 at Jerez. "I like that, though – it is what drives me forward.
"Being teammate to Daniel will also help move me and the team [move] forward. I know him very well and he's a really good driver, so it's a great benchmark for me to have – although I am also working to be better than him."
Despite impressing in various test outings for both Toro Rosso and Red Bull in the past two seasons, Vergne – the 2010 British F3 champion – says he is remaining realistic about his prospects in 2012, and insists he has to prove he is worthy of his Toro Rosso seat.
"I have been with Red Bull for the past five years, working a lot with the team, and I also have done Friday practices with Toro Rosso, all of which I think helped convince them I was good enough to be in the car. I need to prove them right. I have a lot to learn, and I need to gain as much experience as possible, particularly from testing. It's going to be tough but I'm really looking forward to it.
"It would be nice to finish as many times as possible in the points, but first we have to see how our car compares to others. The team did an incredible job last year though and I hope this year we can do even better."