Exclusive interview - Toro Rossos Sebastien Buemi 08 May 2009
When it became clear that Sebastien Buemi would take over Sebastian Vettels seat at Toro Rosso, many predicted a difficult time for the young Swiss. But after four races Buemi has proved his doubters wrong, showing himself to be a worthy heir to his namesakes legacy. And he predicts there is more waiting in the wings this season
Q: Sebastien, how did the practice session go for you today? In the afternoon it seemed a slow start and some problems, but then things picked up well
Sebastien Buemi: I had a bit of overheating and as we were not quite sure what the reason was I was told by the pit to come in, so as not to spoil my chances for the weekend. After we had fixed it everything went quite smoothly and I was quite satisfied with my ninth place in the afternoon. But clearly there is room for improvement, so I am really looking forward to qualifying.
Q: Youve four Grands Prix under your belt. Are you satisfied with your start into your Formula One race career?
SB: I would say that I am quite happy, because we were able to score points twice. Our objective is to score as often as possible and in the end this is exactly what we did, so I am very happy with the way it turned out so far. Of course you can always do better, and at the races where we have scored we could have scored more, but this is the way it is.
Q: Youve shown that you are a worthy replacement for Sebastian Vettel and that his shoes arent too big for you to fill. How is the feedback from the team?
SB: For sure it was very important for the team to be sure to have another driver that can do the job. At the moment I have the feeling that the team is quite happy. I still have a lot to learn, and also a lot to improve, but overall we are going in the right direction, even faster than we had expected. Everybody is giving the maximum, and at the last races the team has done an excellent job.
Q: What's been the hardest part? Racing, new tracks or the sudden media attention?
SB: The media attention is not so easy, especially when it comes to a point where you havent done such a good job yourself. On those occasions you are probably not in a mood where you want to explain what happened, and why it happened. But this is part of the job, too. As of yet I have not had very bad moments, in fact most of it went very well.
Q: You have scored three points - the same amount as Kimi Raikkonen. And Toro Rosso are one point ahead of Ferrari. That must be a surprise for you
SB: It is really surprising to me, as ahead of the season everybody was saying that Ferrari would win many races. I think for Formula One it is good to see a bit of a change on the podium. Ferrari will come back to the front for sure, and well try to stay ahead of them as long as possible.
Q: So far youve scored at every other race. If that continues Barcelona should see you in the points again
SB: Hopefully you are right, and I will be able to score points here in Barcelona. But the fact is that in Formula One things change very fast. And then you have the uncertainty of the weather, it might rain on Sunday. But we have a very good car in the wet, so we are quite confident for this race. For sure is that we will give the maximum as a team, and this is one of the most important things.
Q: Your team mate Sebastien Bourdais seems to be having a tougher time, even though he has substantially more experience. Is the STR4 tailor-made for you?
SB: As a driver you always have to get used to the car. I do not think that it is possible to tailor-make a car for one driver. In the beginning it was very difficult to handle, as it is so much different to last years STR3. For myself I try to spend as much time possible with the engineers and learn as much as possible. For sure some people get to a point faster than others, but it is just the beginning of the season, so we do not need to think too much about this.
Q: How is the reception back home in Switzerland? Its been a long time since a Swiss driver scored points in F1
SB: Back in Switzerland the interest is very big at the moment. The people are very interested in Formula One, and also myself. I personally did not expect such a big impact, especially after I got informed that the TV figures have never been so high. I hope I will be able to score more point and keep raising the interest.
Q: Barcelona will see many upgrades on the cars. What have Toro Rosso brought to continue development?
SB: We will have a lot of new aerodynamic parts introduced, and we hope to make a good step forward. In the end you can never say how much of an improvement this will be, as you do not know how well the other teams have worked in the meantime. If you improve two-tenths of a second, and all the others are able to improve three-tenths then you remain one-tenth of a second behind. The most important thing is for us is to concentrate on our updates, as we do not have much time to think about it, as we only have three hours of testing. So we hope that it works straight away, and we will see the result on Saturday after qualifying. The double diffuser should be introduced by Red Bull Racing in Monaco, and probably we will be able to introduce it two or three races later.
Q: What is your goal for this race?
SB: We want to do as well as we did in China. The objective is to get into Q3 and score some points. We know that it will be difficult, but we will do our best.