We spoke to Toro Rosso's Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi on the launch of the Italian team's new STR6 in Valencia, Spain, on Tuesday, February 1.
This is your third full season in Formula One. Does that make it particularly significant for you?
I have big expectations to be honest, as I have quite a lot of experience now: I know all the circuits, I know how Formula 1 works and we also have quite a lot of experience in terms of building up the car. So, if all goes well and hopefully it will, we should be able to score many points and finish in the top eight of the Constructors’ championship.
What’s the next step? What do you need to have a successful season?
I think it’s a combination of many things. The first thing is that I have to give the maximum, getting the most out of myself, and I need to have a good car, which is obvious as it is actually the same for all the drivers. The team is doing a good job to get everything working better than before and hopefully produce a quicker car. We switched the focus to the 2011 car pretty early in the season last year, so I have big hopes for the start of the season and how things will work out.
You’re going to be very busy in the cockpit this year, with the adjustable rear wing and the KERS. What’s that going to be like?
This season with all the rule changes, it could be a bit difficult, especially in the early stages at the first few races. It is not yet really clear how we will use the rear wing and the KERS as we are still awaiting a rule clarification. It will take a bit of time to get used to it, but that will be the job of the drivers to be on top of it to the maximum by the start of the season. We will be trying to get up to speed during the winter tests to see what we can do and how we can improve it.
How do you prepare for 20 races?
In terms of preparation it will be the same as ever. You always try to get the maximum out of yourself and out of the training. There are not many changes you can make to your programme, but it will be important to work out when to stay out in between races and when to come back home. For example with the back to back races, it will be important to make the right choice: will it be better to stay out to avoid the jet lag for example? Your training is always the same though, as you push hard in the winter to bring your level up and then you try to keep that level all season long. That means you need a good compromise between time when you relax and recover and when you train again hard.
'Scuderia Toro Rosso has huge potential and a bright future'
How important is stability within the team?
Stability is a big point. When you get to a race weekend and you need to concentrate to get the maximum out of the whole crew, it is important to have stability, especially with my race engineer for example: I know him really well he knows me, so we can understand each other without talking. This is an important point because when you have to spend time working together in between the sessions you need to get to the point quickly and knowing one another really well can be an advantage.
Will it be a help that Jaime will be more experienced?
I think it’s really important to have a team-mate that has experience because from a team point of view that makes a difference. We are only allowed to run one car per day during winter testing and if you can use all the days to get the car to go quicker and understand it better, then it makes a difference when you come to the first race. Me and Jaime do not have so much experience, but this is our third season and I’m pretty sure we can extract the most out of the car.
What about Pirelli tyres?
We had two test days in Abu Dhabi at the end of the last championship and it will be important to understand them quickly, because this might make a big difference when you get to the first race. We will learn how they work in cold conditions with all the testing in Europe, but as soon as we get to Bahrain the four days of testing will be very important in terms of understanding their behaviour in our qualifying and race simulations.
You’re still the only Swiss on the grid – important to you?
To be the only Swiss driver is something I am proud of, especially as it is not easy being a Swiss in Formula One as we do not have any circuits in Switzerland and we cannot go racing at home, which makes it a bit more difficult to get to Formula One. But I don’t concentrate much on that: obviously we have a lot of support from the national media and I would say the Swiss people also love Formula One.
What’s the best thing about F1?
The best thing about Formula One is to drive the car, just to get in the car and go racing against all the other drivers. You race against the best drivers in the world, you race with the fastest cars in the world on the best and most beautiful circuits in the world, which makes everything fantastic. When you can feel the adrenalin at the start as you go and fight against the other guys and when you feel the speed at Monza for example, doing 350kph at the end of the straight, or going round high speed corners or tackling Monaco, it’s all just amazing.
The best thing about Scuderia Toro Rosso?
I think Scuderia Toro Rosso is a fantastic team. It is really good for young people because the team knows how to teach new drivers to get up to speed in Formula One. It has huge potential and a bright future.
- See Toro Rosso's Facebook page here
- Sébastien Buemi's official Twitter feed
- Interview with Jaime Alguersuari