Former Formula One driver Jean-Eric Vergne has revealed that the Red Bull programme was his biggest obstacle in his F1 career.
Vergne raced for junior Red Bull team Toro Rosso from 2012 to 2014, making 58 appearances but was dropped for the 2015 season.
The Frenchman admits that it is vital to perform well to remain a part of the programme.
“It’s quite funny because my biggest obstacle was Red Bull, because I had no manager when I left F1. It’s good when things are going well with Red Bull, but when they aren’t, you have nowhere to go, but I was lucky and managed to sort myself out in the end. Red Bull got me into F1, but they also stopped me being there in the end."
“It was always very complicated. Luckily my family never had to spend much money, but still I knew in karting that to move up to Formula Renault 2.0 it was going to cost at least €500,000 to be with a good team. You can go cheaper but you wont win the championship, and that was always the objective."
“I chose not to go into Formula 2.0 and instead I did the French Formula Campus, which is now French FIA F4. I got help from the French motor sport federation to do it and I won the series. It was a good season with lots of wins, and that gave me the chance to do the Red Bull driver shootout, where 20 drivers were tested."
“I was the best driver along with Daniel Ricciardo, and from then on Red Bull always backed me, so I only ever had to find a few sponsors. I was really lucky with Red Bull because they managed my career and always put me in a good championship and in a good team.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing