Vergne sets sights on Raikkonen's 2016 seat

By on Sunday, January 11, 2015

Vergne sets sights on Raikkonen's 2016 seatJean-Eric Vergne has admitted he has set his sights on Kimi Raikkonen's 2016 race seat at Ferrari.

The Frenchman was part of the Red Bull young driver system but was dropped by Toro Rosso at the end of 2014.

He has rescued his F1 career with a test driver role at Ferrari, although the top reserve seat was already filled by the heavily Mexican-backed Esteban Gutierrez.

"Honestly," Vergne told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport, "I prefer having the job of working on the simulator and doing something useful, rather than being the reserve.

"Today, the role of a third driver is to be at the track without doing anything special.  Not being able to help to the team would be frustrating, so I feel that mine is an important task.

"I know I gave my best and that's why I have no regrets," said Vergne, referring to his lost Toro Rosso seat.  "And now I'm at Ferrari which is also a great opportunity for 2016.

"If I was not able to race this year, I think what I have is better than being at Caterham or Marussia and always being last."

He admits that the arrival at Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel may have helped.

"I've known him since I was working on the Red Bull simulator when I was in F3," said Vergne.  "I've always had a great relationship with him, as I do as well with Kimi.

"Surely the fact that he [Vettel] went to Ferrari did help, but I also know that my name was mentioned by others -- I talked a lot with Massimo Rivola, for example."

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