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Vergne backs Red Bull’s tough junior programme

Drivers backed by Red Bull need to accept the high pressure to perform, according to Jean-Eric Vergne.

After Brendon Hartley was ousted by the energy drink company’s junior programme earlier in 2010, Frenchman Vergne was promoted.

He took over Hartley’s seats in the formative categories, attended some grands prix and worked in the Milton-Keynes simulator on Red Bull Racing’s 2011 car, the RB7.

The junior programme, headed by Dr Helmut Marko, has gained a reputation over the years for callously ousting drivers.

“The junior team is a part of Red Bull Racing, the best (F1) team in the world today,” Vergne told Auto Hebdo, “so the drivers in the programme are expected to be the best.

“It makes perfect sense,” said the 20-year-old.  “I understand that if tomorrow I have no results, Red Bull will not be with me.  But that’s the game, with only winning accepted.

“I accept it because it’s the only way I will arrive in F1.  I don’t carry a briefcase with $15 million.  The only way I can get there is by winning races and championships,” he added.

Vergne denied that Red Bull’s programme is putting too much pressure on its youngsters.

“If we are not able to handle the pressure, especially where we are at in motor sports, I think we could not handle F1,” he insisted.  “So it’s good to get used to it.

“As Helmut Marko says, it’s right to get used to the pressure straight away, because it’s only going to get stronger.  I am perfectly in line with this philosophy,” he added.

 © RIF | GMM