Jean-Éric Vergne has declared this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix as the ‘most difficult’ of all events on the Formula 1 calendar, but remains confident – after a tough Italian Grand Prix – of delivering a strong result as his time with Scuderia Toro Rosso nears its end.
The Frenchman’s three-year stint with the Faenza outfit will come to a close at the end of the 2014 season after the team announced that his position would be taken over by teenage racing sensation Max Verstappen.
The Italian outfit struggled at its home race at Monza a fortnight ago, but the less power-dependent nature of Singapore’s Marina Bay Circuit should suit the STR9, which will run a series of new parts as it continues to target cementing its seventh place in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
“Singapore is possibly the most difficult Grand Prix for the driver, a really long race on a tricky track, in hot conditions,” he said ahead of this weekend’s event.
“Physical preparation is important as it is such a hot race, so we train in very hot conditions wherever possible during the European summer to prepare and I don’t expect any problems on that front.
“The track surface is quite bumpy and demanding for the driver, but that makes it challenging which is why it’s a track that I love. We will have some performance updates for this race and I hope that means we can make a step forward and get a good result.”
Teammate Daniil Kvyat will have his first outing in a Formula 1 car on the tortuous street circuit, but – for a change – this is a flyaway event that he is actually familiar with, having claimed victory here in 2010 when he raced in the Formula BMW championship.
“It’s going to be a very different experience this time and one I am looking forward to. I do like the track a lot, because although it’s a street circuit, it’s much quicker than Monaco, for example,” the Russian added.
“Recently I was able to drive it again, although only on the simulator and the feeling I had was good. Although the walls are very close to you, the track itself is quite wide. I’m sure it’s going to be quite tough physically, but I am prepared for that.
“I enjoy the aspect of racing at night and actually, after this year’s Bahrain GP I said we should have more night races because the atmosphere is really cool.
“In terms of our performance, the fact that absolute power is not the most important part of the package, means we can expect the STR9 to be more competitive than, for example, down the long straights at the last race in Monza. Let’s wait and see but on paper it looks more promising, even though we were still able to put up a fight in Italy,” he added.
Kvyat became the first driver to incur a ten-place grid penalty for exceeding his power unit component allocation for the season after the team was forced to change his MGU-K unit in his car during the Italian Grand Prix weekend. The penalty put him to the back of the grid, and he managed to work his way up to a potential points’ finish before a brake failure on the penultimate lap forced him to back off.
Image via XPB Images