He may not be off to Red Bull next season but Franz Tost has told Jean-Eric Vergne that he's "confident" his Toro Rosso future is secure.
When news broke that Mark Webber would retire at the end of this season, Vergne along with his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen emerged as the leading trio to replace the Aussie.
Since then, though, the candidates have dwindled to two as Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has ruled out Vergne as he reckons the Frenchman is not ready for the job.
But while the 23-year-old may not be making the step, his current team boss has all but assured that he won't be dropped by Toro Rosso.
"I am confident that Jean-Eric Vergne will drive next year for Toro Rosso," Tost said.
"We must not forget that Jean-Eric came in late to Formula 1 and the reason why Red Bull Racing are thinking about driving with Daniel Ricciardo next year is simply because he is more experienced.
"He showed a very good performance in the first-half of the season but Jean-Eric is quite close to him and it's not that Jean-Eric is out of the team. He is, as far as I am thinking, next year with Toro Rosso."
The team boss, though, did acknowledge the fact that Toro Rosso was bought by Red Bull to be a learning curve for the next generation of drivers some of whom were in action at the recent Young Driver Test.
"The young drivers from Red Bull were surprisingly fast," he said. "They are high skilled and will have a successful future.
"It [Toro Rosso's 2014 line-up] is not decided yet but we must not forget that Dietrich Mateschitz and Red Bull bought Minardi [Toro Rosso's previous incarnation] to give young drivers from the Red Bull driver programme a chance to come into Formula 1 and Toro Rosso is the team to educate young drivers."
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