In the week since the Bahrain Grand Prix, Jean-Eric Vergne has gone back to college and taken some of the Toro Rosso team karting for his birthday...
It’s been a pretty busy time for me since the Bahrain Grand Prix and I’ve been enjoying myself a lot over the past week or so.
Last Thursday, our Head of Vehicle Dynamics Laurent Mekies was in Paris with me for a visit to ESTACA, the university where he studied engineering. It’s a pretty prestigious school and it was an honour to go there and give a talk to the students. It was especially nice for Laurent because it’s his old school and he got to see some of his old professors.
It was a great afternoon and we had a really interesting discussion with the students there. All the top students in transport engineering and aeronautics were there, so the questions they asked were very detailed, as obviously they’re very well informed.
Thursday was also my 23rd birthday, so I spent the evening with my family in Paris, which was really nice.
Then on Friday, some guys from the team came to Paris to take part in a karting event at my parents’ track – Racing Kart de Cormeilles. Franz Tost, my race engineer Phil Charles, the team’s Chief Designer Luca Furbatto, Alberto Gavarini, my No. 1 mechanic, Laurent, and my manager Renaud Derlot all joined me to form a team for a 25-hour endurance race, which also celebrated the fact that the track has been operating for 25 years.
On Friday we had a day’s practice and then on Saturday we had the event itself. I have to say, it was pretty tough, but a lot of fun as well. It’s a really big event one of the toughest events in amateur karting and the level is really high.
Each team was made up of four to ten people and naturally it was the teams with four people – four good guys – who finished on top. We had seven on our team, so of course we weren’t going to win it but I think we did a pretty good job in finishing seventh overall from 44 teams.
Everybody in our team was OK and I’m not being diplomatic! All the guys were surprisingly quick and really committed but I guess you’d expect nothing less from people involved in F1.
Franz was his normal self – super competitive and determined to do well, exactly as he is at grand prix tracks. He was pushing us all the time. He was really on it and I think he had a really good time.
So that’s what I’ve been up to so far over the break, but it’s not long now until we’re back in F1 action in Spain, where I’ll be hoping for a big push in this European phase of the season.
Looking back over the first four races I would say that while it hasn’t been fantastic there are positive signs. We have a strong team of good people and they are working well together. The car is essentially competitive too, which was shown with my result in Malaysia and Dan’s points in China.
OK, we had a pretty poor outing in Bahrain but I think this was an aberration. Daniel’s car was the slowest on track in the race and that’s just not right, as he is definitely not slow. Clearly there was a problem elsewhere. You have to think about it like this: a car does not go from finishing seventh in a race to being last in the space of one week. The team is investigating it and I’m sure in Barcelona we won’t have problems like that.