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GP Week : Issue 181
After being T-boned by Mark Webber at the Chinese Grand Prix, Jean-Eric Vergne suffered another disastrous weekend in Bahrain, this time retiring from the race as the result of overheating issues caused by a collision with Giedo van der Garde that resulted from a brief moment of contact with the Williams driven by Valtteri Bottas. Both van der Garde and Vergne found their cars heavily damaged in the lap 1 incident, but it was Vergne who saw an early end to his Sunday: “Jean-Eric ... was unlucky to be pushed into the path of a Caterham by a Williams,” Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said after the race. “Once we assessed the car was still roadworthy when he came into the pits for repairs, we sent him out again. However, after a while it became clear the damage to the floor and other components was allowing the car to overheat to an unacceptable level. There was no point in him doing further damage, so we took the decision to call him in and retire him in the pits.” It is no secret that Antonio Felix da Costa, currently driving for Arden Caterham in the World Series by Renault, is waiting in the wings, hoping for a promotion to a Toro Rosso race seat. The Portuguese racer is the next great hope of the Red Bull junior programme, and is widely considered to be in line to replace whichever of the two Toro Rosso drivers is considered to be under- performing by the middle of the current season. While Vergne has shown himself to be capable of strong performances in the races he has been able to finish, his qualifying performance has long been an Achilles heel that is not improving as quickly as the powers that be would hope. Couple that with his disastrous run of results thus far in 2013, resulting in a single world championship point, and it is not hard to imagine that the Frenchman is currently feeling the pressure. Da Costa’s win in the second race of the opening round of the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 season in Monza will not help Vergne to sleep any easier. Jean-Eric Vergne: Feeling the pressure? F1 >>> BAHRAIN 21 GPWEEK.com // 21 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: