Q&A with Toro Rossos Jaime Alguersuari 25 Jul 2009
For somebody who had only ever tested a Formula One car in a straight line before this weekend, Toro Rosso rookie Jaime Alguersuari has delivered an impressive performance so far in Hungary. His physical strength might be a little lower than that of his peers, but if this is the only deficit the young Spaniard has, then he could be a huge talent in the making, courtesy of Red Bulls young driver programme
Q: Jaime, youve been thrown into the water - now you have to swim. How do you feel?
Jaime Alguersuari: I am quite happy to be honest. It is a great pleasure to be here and race against all these fantastic drivers and to be in this awesome world of Formula One. And we have seen a good performance from the team - and I think also from me as I made all the laps and didnt do any mistakes, so obviously I must be very happy.
Q: How long in advance did you know that you would be racing in Hungary?
JA: I didnt really know after Nurburgring, so you could say that it was really a bit of a surprise for everyone - and especially for me. But now I am looking forward to all the races that will follow.
Q: Have you had any kind of reservations about racing in Budapest, as you didnt have any opportunity to test - which is significantly important for a rookie?
JA: Sure, you are not hundred percent sure because Formula One is much about experience, but its also about driver talent. For sure if a driver is good he also should show good performance in Formula One - and in any other series - because we are drivers and this is part of our job.
Q: How did it go today? Did you find it difficult putting in the hot lap in qualifying?
JA: Yes, it was quite hard, especially with these new Bridgestone tyres. It is quite tough to use them - we definitely need much better understanding of these tyres. I was not - and I will not be this season - 120 percent at the limit of the car.
Q: What had you been hoping for in qualifying? Did you struggle a little bit?
JA: To be frank I think it was a quite good performance from me. This morning it was the first time for me to run on low fuel in the car and I got a feeling for that. I did a pretty good time in the Saturday morning practice and I repeated my lap time in the afternoon, but in the end we had a problem with the engine and for security reasons they had to shut it down so we couldnt manage to a run a good time with the options. I wanted to do a good job, not making it into Q2, but I think weve shown a good enough job in performance.
Q: Are you a bit concerned about the pit stops tomorrow or did you have the chance to practise that yesterday or today?
JA: I am more worried about the length of the race than the pit stops. The pit stops weve tried so many times but the race is quite long and Im not in my hundred percent best physical situation. Seventy laps will be tough. I really hope the weather stays as it was today and not as hot as it was on Friday because then it will be even tougher.
Q: Yesterday you said that you dont have any target for this race. Is what you did today what you thought it might be? Staying eight-tenths behind Sebastian (Buemi)?
JA: During all the weekend it was something around half a second, and from pole I was 1.2 or 1.3 seconds off when I was on the track. Obviously in Q2 they improved their lap times because the track was getting faster. I am really surprised that I am so close to the top times. For sure I have a lot to improve and trying to find the limit of the car, but its my first time ever. And I definitely know that in high speed (corners) I can be much better, but today was not realistic because I dont have any mileage.
Q: At Nurburgring you were getting involved with the team, looking at all the data and trying to absorb as much information as possible
JA: This is my life and this is my dream. I want to be here and I want to achieve something in this sport so it is only natural that I try to understand it as fast and as much as possible. I am the youngest in Formula One. I am nineteen years old but I have no illusions that it is hard to win - in whatever series youre running - so the best way to enter the road of winning is to start working very hard from day one.
Q: Did you feel the pressure at two oclock? Was there a mental pressure going into qualifying?
JA: No, not really. I feel free of charge at all the race weekends until the end of the season. Tomorrow there will be 18 cars racing and one car - me - who is testing. I have this philosophy. In qualifying I was not nervous because I knew what I can do. And I think we did a decent job.
Q: (Toro Rosso bosses) Giorgio (Ascanelli) and Franz (Tost) told you to hang back a little and not explore the limits of the car - just to be on the safe side
JA: They told me that I have only one target this weekend: not to make mistakes and make all laps possible. This is the most important thing. I also have to say that my performance was going lower every time because of my physical situation. On Friday I did 82 laps and Saturday morning I was quite exhausted.
Q: So what does that mean for your concentration in the race?
JA: It will be tough, but 70 laps should be no problem, although this track is a very demanding one - almost like a kart track - because you have to use the brakes a lot. What I have to do is to find a good pace and a comfortable rhythm, stay there and finish the race and bring the car home.