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2012-02-07 12:04

2012 CONTENDER: Toro Rosso's drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne pose with the teams new Formula 1 car - the STR7.

Jerez, Spain - Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso unveiled the car othat could boost the careers of Daniel Ricciardo or team mate Jean-Eric Vergne in Formula 1.

Double world champion Sebastian Vettel spent a season with Toro Rosso in 2008, winning the Italian Grand Prix and graduating to Red Bull at the end of the year in a meteoric rise to the top.

Vettel became the sport's youngest ever double champion in 2011 while Red Bull also retained the constructors' crown.

Vettel's team mate Mark Webber's contract runs out at the end of 2012 when one of the most desirable seats in the sport could become available.

Team principal Franz Tost said: "Toro Rosso is to educate the young drivers for Red Bull Racing. This is our philosophy and within this philosophy we do our best.

"I hope that these will be the next two Red Bull drivers for the future. They came into Formula One and they have to prove that they can do this job and they have to develop their skills and then we will see. They have the chance," he said.

Both have tested for Red Bull already and while Vergne is a rookie, Ricciardo raced for tail-enders HRT in 2011.


The two were also team mates in the junior Renault 2.0 series.

Ricciardo said: "It's nice that we both made it work. That's the part of their programme, to bring us to Formula One from juniors. It's the first job done but I guess we both want to be world champion so it'll be a race to that one as well.

"So far it's all been very good. Each year in the career we've gone a step forward and this is definitely a pretty obvious and big step hopefully towards the big one one day," he said.

Tost said the target was to move up the grid after finishing eighth in 2011 with Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi.

Tost said, "The STR7 is the third car designed, fabricated and assembled completely by Toro Rosso.

"We have invested a lot of money to build up the infrastructure and I hope the results will be good in the forthcoming season. Last year we finished eighth in constructors' and this year we hope to do better, so seventh or more," he said.

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