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Ask the Expert - Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi 15 May 2009

Sebastian Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 5 April 2009 Sebastian Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR4.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 18 April 2009 Kazuki Nakajima (JPN) Manor Motorsport, Sebastien Buemi (SUI) Carlin and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Carlin Macau GP Race 2, Guia Circuit, Macau, China, 19th November 2006 Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso and Sebastian Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, 9 March 2009. Sebastian Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR4.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 4 April 2009

What does the Arabic word 'Bahrain' mean in English? What football team does Toro Rosso technical director Giorgio Ascanelli support? Which other Formula One driver hasn’t yet clinched a major single-seater title? And what did an Eagle do at Spa-Francorchamps in 1967? These are just some of the questions we thought Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi would take in his stride after he agreed to be the latest participant in our personal trivia test, ‘Ask the Expert’...

Q: You were born on October 31, 1988. Who had become that year’s Formula One world champion the previous day?
Sebastien Buemi:
Ayrton Senna!
Correct - the Brazilian stormed through the field to beat McLaren team mate Alain Prost to victory at the Japanese circuit of Suzuka.

Q: You are one of only seven Swiss drivers to have scored Formula One points. Can you name the other six?
SB:
(Clay) Regazzoni, (Jo) Siffert, (Marc) Surer, (Toulo) de Graffenried. That’s only four. Gee, the others must be really way back - from the fifties?
Four out of six isn’t bad - the names Buemi forgot were Rudi Fischer, who scored 10 points during the 1952 season, and Silvio Moser, 12 points over an F1 career that stretched from 1967-1971.

Q: Regazzoni was by far the most successful Swiss F1 driver to date, scoring 212 points over an 11-year career. But how many Grands Prix did he win?
SB:
Five races.
Correct

Q: You were born in Aigle in Switzerland and you list cycling among your interests. Can you tell us what else links Aigle and cycling?
SB:
There is the international centre of cycling.
Correct - World cycling governing body, the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale), is based in Aigle.

Q: Aigle means ‘eagle’ in English. What did an Eagle do at Spa-Francorchamps in 1967?
SB:
I have no idea! That was 11 years before I was born.
Incorrect - an Eagle car won the Belgian Grand Prix with American Dan Gurney at the wheel. It was the team’s only F1 win.

Q: Talking of Spa-Francorchamps, another member of your family was racing there last weekend. Can you tell us who, and in what race series?
SB:
Last weekend? Ah, yes, my cousin Natacha (Gachnang) was racing there - in the Radical Masters series.
Correct

Q: Natacha won last year’s Formula Three Spanish Cup series, but how many races did she win en-route to the title?
SB:
Shame on me not to know. I know that she is successful but I had no idea that she was that successful. Natacha, I apologise!
Incorrect - Oh dear, cousin Buemi’s going to have some grovelling to do. Natacha won five races, plus 12 podiums, three poles and six fastest laps.

Q: Your family has a long motorsport tradition. Though not classified in the final results, your grandfather George completed the 1960 Le Mans 24 hours race. Can you tell us what car he drove?
SB:
He drove, he drove… let me think because if I don’t know it he will kill me. I know the number and everything but what the hell was the car? Tell me!
Incorrect - he shared an AC Ace with fellow Swiss Andre Wicky.

Q: You finished fourth in the prestigious Formula Three race, the Macau Grand Prix, in 2006. Which of your current F1 rivals beat you to the podium, and which two other current F1 drivers were also competing that day?
SB:
Sutil! Nakajima was competing and Vettel.
Correct - Adrian Sutil finished third, Sebastian Vettel was 23rd and Kazuki Nakajima failed to finish.

Q: Though born in Switzerland, Bahrain is now your home. Can you tell us what the Arabic word Bahrain means in English?
SB:
I have no idea. Tell me. Ok, so I’ve learned something new!
Incorrect - it means ‘two seas’ referring to the freshwater springs that are found within the country and the salty seas surrounding it.

Q: Toro Rosso was born out of the former Minardi team, which Red Bull purchased in 2005. How many current F1 drivers raced for Minardi earlier in their careers?
SB:
You mean only Minardi and not Minardi and Toro Rosso, right? Webber, Alonso, Fisichella. Wait, wait, again: Alonso, Webber, Fisichella. Let me see, I need to go through the grid. Must be another old one. Can’t get it. Who was it?
Close, but no cigar - it was four - Trulli was the missing name.

Q: Toro Rosso’s team principal Franz Tost and technical director Giorgio Ascanelli are both football fans. Which teams do they support?
SB:
I am sure Franz is for FC Red Bull Salzburg. No? Then I have no idea - and that also goes for Giorgio too.
Incorrect -Tost - Bayern Munchen; Ascanelli - AC Milan.

Q: Your team mate Sebastien Bourdais remains something of a legend in the US, having won four ChampCar titles, but which highly-regarded European single-seater series did he win before heading across the Atlantic?
SB:
F3000.
Correct - it was indeed F3000 (predecessor to GP2) in 2002.

Q: You have moved from Switzerland to Bahrain, but can you name four of your fellow F1 drivers who have moved to Switzerland from their native countries after hitting the big time?
SB:
There are a lot - nearly everybody! Hamilton, Kovalainen, Vettel, Bourdais, Heidfeld, Raikkonen, Massa. The question is rather who didn’t move to Switzerland?
Correct

Q: Before your debut, who was the last Swiss national to have driven in Formula One racing?
SB:
Deletraz!
Correct - Jean-Denis Deletraz entered three races in 1994 and 1995.

Q: You replaced Sebastian Vettel at Toro Rosso and went on to score two points for your seventh -place finish at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Where did Vettel finish on his F1 debut?
SB:
Eighth with BMW Sauber at Indianapolis.
Correct

Q: One of your mentors is Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko, but in what year did he win the Le Mans 24 Hours race for Porsche with Holland's Gijs van Lennep?
SB:
Nineteen seventy - oh la la - two? One!
Correct - 1971.

Q: You’ve yet to win a major single-seater title, but which other current F1 driver is in the same boat?
SB:
Nakajima? No, Mark?
Correct - it is Red Bull stablemate Mark Webber.

Q: Over the winter you were up against team mate Sebastien Bourdais and former Super Aguri racer Takuma Sato for the 2009 Toro Rosso drive. How many podiums did Sato score during his F1 career?
SB:
One - Indianapolis.
Correct - Buemi certainly knows his rivals well. Sato finished third at the 2004 US Grand Prix for BAR-Honda.

Q: At the FIA press conference for this year’s Australian Grand Prix a journalist took your tongue-in-cheek blog a little too literally. What did he believe Australian customs officers had confiscated off you at the airport?
SB:
Chocolate - and it was quite an amount.
Correct - 20 bars of Toblerone.

Final score: 23 points from a possible 32
Ask the Expert rating: 72%

Current leader board:
1. Sebastien Buemi - 72%
2. Robert Kubica - 70%
3. Jenson Button - 69%
4. Nico Rosberg - 66%
5= Sebastian Vettel - 64%
5= Rubens Barrichello - 64%
7. Nick Heidfeld - 57%

More drivers coming soon.