Jean Eric-Vergne says Toro Rosso's promising showing in Jerez testing suggests the team could be one of the strongest of this year's midfield runners.
Both Vergne and fellow Red Bull protegee Daniel Ricciardo impressed over the four days in Jerez, while the team suffered few mechanical complaints while racking up 316 laps on the Spanish circuit. Buoyed by such a record, Vergne said he was confident the team could replicate its pace on Barcelona, which he says will be a better barometer of performance levels for the season ahead.
"I think Jerez showed we have a good baseline, and we look to be one of the strongest of the midfield teams so far," Vergne said. "We are looking quite good. We had a really good four days as a team, the result of a really good winter for the team. We didn't have any major problems and got a lot of mileage, so there were many positives and not much of a downside.
"Barcelona, of course, may be different – Jerez was quite cold and the surface is quite abrasive, and it's a circuit we never race on. Barcelona will be a better test in some ways, but I hope with the car as it is now we should also have a good week there."
Vergne downplayed concerns his and Ricciardo's inexperience could hurt future development, saying he was confident the team can fare well over the entire season.
"I don't think there is so much difference between teams with more experienced drivers [and us]," he added. "I think if I work as I should – and as a rookie driver that means very hard – it shouldn't be a problem. It's not only about having a good car now, it's always really important to have good updates during the season and I believe we can do that."