If Jean-Eric Vergne needed reminding that Red Bull can be a hard task-master, he need look no further than the team with which he will undertake his maiden season in Formula 1...
Scuderia Toro Rosso's decision to drop Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari for Vergne and his fellow Red Bull protege Daniel Ricciardo - 21 and 22 years old respectively - came as something of a shock. That one of Buemi and Alguersuari might be dropped seemed likely, but both being told to look elsewhere caused widespread surprise and, in some quarters, consternation.
"Toro Rosso was created to give young drivers a chance," came the uncompromising response from Helmut Marko, head of Red Bull's junior programme.
"Alguersuari and Buemi had it for three years and after this time it's possible to evaluate a driver's development. We haven't seen in them any possibility of growth. Both are worthy of grand prix racing, but for us that's not enough: we need winners."
To continue reading this feature, subscribe to Autosport Plus today.
Are you an Autosport magazine subscriber? Activate your online account
- Your Autosport Plus subscription includes:
- Unlimited access to Autosport's news - no monthly cap.
- Read the best motorsport features, analysis and opinion.
- Explore Forix, our comprehensive motorsport stats database.
- Choose from a monthly or yearly membership.