Exclusive Buemi Q&A: I need to show I deserve the seat 18 Nov 2008
This week GP2 driver Sebastien Buemi, former Super Aguri racer Takuma Sato and 08 incumbent Sebastien Bourdais are all slogging it out at the Barcelona test in the hope of securing the chance to race for Toro Rosso in 2009. On Monday, Sato drew first blood, setting the fastest time of all 17 runners at the Spanish track, but Buemi was just three-tenths down on the vastly more experienced Japanese driver. We caught up with the 20 year-old to talk about his hopes for this week's test and beyond
Q: Sebastien, this Barcelona test could be your ticket to a permanent race seat for next season. Are you prepared for the challenge?
Sebastien Buemi: I hope so! I am doing my best, trying to be as fast as possible and work as closely as possible with the team. Monday was a really good day, as we managed to do everything that we had planned - and I am looking forward to the rest of the test. I know how important this test is for my future, but the trick is not to think too much about it, because in the end, whether you do think about it or not, it doesnt change anything. So I prefer to keep my head clear and just give my best performance.
Q: Two cockpits are available and there are three drivers competing. At 20, you are the youngster, whilst your competitors bring a great deal of experience to the table. What do you think you can bring to the team?
SB: I am young and I learn quickly. I think that all teams now try to have an experienced driver and a young driver, as you see for example, at Renault. The immediate past has shown that the young guys dont need too long to deliver results. Its not like in the past, when there was the thinking that if you want results youd better take someone with experience. Lately, young drivers have shown that they can deliver almost straight away. The team will analyse everything before they make a decision - then well see.
Q: Toro Rosso just enjoyed a sensational season with young driver Sebastian Vettel. Could that help pave your way to the seat?
SB: Well, that certainly doesnt go against me. Im trying to do a good job and now I hope I can reproduce what he did this season. And also try to learn as much as possible from him - as we are all part of the Red Bull family.
Q: Considering all the Sebs who have driven at Red Bull and Toro Rosso, it seems that your name holds a certain advantage...
SB: Probably. But to be serious, I think it is just a coincidence, although quite a unique one! And fact is, its a good name
Q: You are familiar with the STR3, so what is your impression of how the test is going? What is your gut feeling? Are you doing enough to convince Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger to sign you?
SB: All I know is that I need to be fast. He wants the best combination possible for his team, which is completely normal, and I need to show him that I deserve the place. I need to be fast. I need to be focused, I need to do anything to suggest that I would deliver good results - I need to demonstrate to him how much I want that seat. And boy, I really want it!
Q: Should he decide in your favour, would it be tricky to step into the cockpit of Vettel?
SB: Well, that would be difficult, of course. He had an amazing season and it will be up to me to do everything I can to fill his shoes. Should the decision be made in my favour, I would move to Italy to be as close as possible to the team - and work with them as hard as I can.
Q: When will the team decide about their driver line-up? Have they hinted to you?
SB: No, they didnt tell me. I dont know how long it will take. Its a difficult situation but I'm trying to only really think about this test and not about what might happen, as in the end it is just a matter of doing a good job.
Q: If the shootout doesnt work out for you - what will do in 2009?
SB: I think I will then do another season in GP2. If I have to do a second year, then I will do it - if that is what it takes to be in Formula One. I will do everything that I can do.
Q: If you do succeed, youll be the first Swiss Formula One driver for a long time. Is that inspiring?
SB: There hasnt been a Swiss driver in Formula One for so long that it would be fantastic. But honestly, there is no extra motivation necessary, as I am 120 percent focused on landing an F1 seat!