Jean-Eric Vergne says he instantly felt comfortable in Toro Rosso's STR7, which he is confident will give the squad a good base for the forthcoming season.
Although the Frenchman has little race experience in Formula 1 he has tested several times for both Toro Rosso and Red Bull – including a three-day stint for the championship-winning team in last year's Abu Dhabi young driver tests. He says that experience has bolstered his conviction that the team has a strong starting point with their 2012 design.
"When you have a good car, and a good balance, you can tell – and it looks quite good to me," said Vergne following his first day of running at Jerez. "I am a rookie, but I drove the best car in the world I think last year. Obviously, it was on one track and with really good temperature and conditions so it makes it hard to compare, but I have a good feeling. From the very first lap the car was well balanced, and I'm confident we have a good base."
Vergne admitted he still had a lot to learn in F1 and that different programs could skew the testing picture, but said he was working toward the objective of scoring points on a regular basis.
"It's complicated to compare to other teams – so maybe we have a really good car, maybe we have a terrible car," he explained. "From my point of view it feels good, but I also have a lot to learn. My target is to learn as much as possible, and get the best out of the days even when I'm not driving. Then we'll see when we know where the car is we can get a clearer objective, but for sure to score as many points as possible.
"The reliability of the car was positive, and you feel more confident when you know you have a car you can race with. The main thing for me though was to feel comfortable in the car and get on with the job."