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Buemi: I've been preparing for this all my life 13 Jan 2009

Sebastien Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso Test Driver Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Wednesday 10 December 2008. Sebastian Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso Test Driver Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday 9 December 2008. Sebastien Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso Test Driver talks with Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday 9 December 2008. Sebastien Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Barcelona, Spain, 18 November 2008.  
Sebastien Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso Test Driver speaks with an engineer. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Thursday 11 December 2008.

At 20 years-old, Toro Rosso’s new signing Sebastien Buemi is expected to be the youngest driver on the 2009 grid. An ambitious Buemi, however, has vowed not to be daunted by the prospect of his debut season but prove to the Italian team that they were right to place their confidence in him.

“Formula One is a whole new level,” he told Toro Rosso’s official website. “It’s something I’ve been preparing for all my life and suddenly, everything one has done up until that point seems insignificant. It meant I had successfully completed all the previous stages and from now on, it was up to me to show Red Bull that they had made the right decision in showing this confidence in me.

“There’s always a slight feeling of apprehension going into a new season of motor racing. I always feel I want to do a good job. I know there will be pressure in F1, more than in the past, but that’s part of the game. I’ve already been the youngest winner in GP2, in Formula Three and in Formula BMW. That was nice, but in F1, it counts for nothing, age does not matter. I can compete against 25 or 40-year-olds and that makes no difference to me. I would like to be the fastest, whatever my age.”

Buemi covered almost 6,000 testing kilometres for Toro Rosso and sister team Red Bull over the course of 2008 and hopes to continue to build on that experience before March’s opener in Australia, as well as during the season itself.

“Each step of the way, you need to be perfectly prepared, so now it’s up to me to make sure I’m perfectly prepared before the first Grand Prix in Melbourne and to show what I can do,” he said. “But you also need to find the right rhythm and that won’t happen in the space of a couple of race weekends, although Toro Rosso will be doing everything so that things go as well as possible.

“You have to be realistic. You have to have self-confidence and put yourself in the best possible situation. But you have to keep your feet on the ground and not get depressed if the results don’t come immediately. It will be a tough season and everyone in the team will be working hard to make progress with the car in a discipline that represents the highest form of motor sport.”

In addition to coping with the regulation changes coming into force in 2009, Buemi is well aware that he must adapt quickly to driving a Formula One car under race conditions if he is to succeed. But following Sebastian Vettel’s success at Toro Rosso last season, the Swiss driver is confident he’s with the best team to achieve his potential.

“A Formula One car is faster, its overall performance is better and it is harder for a driver to take it to its limit. The hardest thing about it is that, in F1, you have to do several things at the same time: communicate with the team by radio, constantly change settings on the steering wheel, follow instructions from the team and all of this while going considerably quicker than in the other formulas.

“F1 is more physically demanding, but you gradually get used to all of this and everything must eventually become instinctive. Toro Rosso is the ideal team with which to start a career and it was set up specifically to help young drivers get into F1. Sebastian Vettel proved that last year. The team has a lot of potential.”

While Buemi's seat is confirmed, his team mate is yet to be announced. And although he has recently tested alongside two of the prospective candidates - 2008 driver Sebastien Bourdais and former Super Aguri racer Takuma Sato - Buemi doesn’t have a favourite.

“For me, the important thing is to be in F1 and I don’t mind who will be my team mate,” he added. “Of course, I will want to beat him and to be as competitive as possible. Maybe if he has a lot of experience, I will be able to learn and progress more quickly from watching him."

Buemi will make his first outing as an official Toro Rosso driver at a multi-team test session to be held at Portugal’s Portimao Circuit on January 19.