Back on track - Exclusive Q&A with Sebastien Buemi 25 Jun 2010
The start of the 2010 season saw Toro Rossos Sebastian Buemi retreating into the shadows, with difficult races and unsatisfying results. Since Monaco, however, the Swiss driver has been on an upward trend, culminating in four points in Montreal. That has triggered a taste for more - starting in Valencia this weekend
Q: Sebastian, it took a few races for you to arrive this season. How did you cope with initially stepping backwards instead of forwards?
Sebastian Buemi: To be honest it was not an easy situation because I felt that Id been really unlucky at the first couple of races, with a lot of incidents and technical issues. So to finally have a good race is very important for your psyche. It came a bit late, but better late than never because Formula One is so unpredictable that in the end you have to be focused and keep pushing and hope that luck will be on your side.
Q: The races prior to Monaco were largely bad news for you. The good news is that were now midseason and you have five points - so only one point shy of your overall tally last year. Is that giving you hope?
SB: Yeah, but if you compare it to the old points allocation I would only have one point - that puts that whole matter into perspective again. But you also have to see that it is a lot harder this season for us as we dont have the help of Red Bull any longer - we are a proper constructor team. But you can be sure that we do our best, that the whole team is pushing very hard and doing a great job.
Q: Its your second full season and naturally the expectations are that you develop and possibly eventually move on to Red Bull Racing. How much pressure is there and how disappointed are you that things didnt work out better at the first few races?
SB: When you finish the last two races in the points and qualify three times in a row in Q3 then you at least expect to do the same in the new season. But that was not the case. Sure, we know the reasons why, but it is still disappointing for me. But clearly yes, my objective for the future is to drive for Red Bull Racing - this is pretty clear. The problem was that I didnt have a good race until they confirmed Mark (Webber) so I could not fight for the second Red Bull cockpit. What is important for me is to be competitive and to do good races to show Red Bull Racing that I deserve to drive for them.
Q: Team mate Jaime Alguersuari has done pretty well so far - indeed, at the first couple of races better than you. Did you ask yourself why, and what conclusions did you come to?
SB: It might sound like n excuse, but if you look at the situation I was really unlucky - and on the other hand Jaime was really blessed with luck. I had all the technical issues and he had no problems at all. This made a big difference in the end. If you look at the best pace seen in qualifying then you see that from the eight qualifyings so far I was faster than him seven times. So I know that I can be a lot quicker than him, so I dont feel too annoyed and as one day luck has to come my way, I hope to finish in the points more than once in a while.
Q: Team principal Franz Tost said that teams like Toro Rosso are able to gain positions through excellent strategy. Now, due to the refuelling ban, the window for good pit-stop strategies has been narrowed a lot. Is this something that will make a difference in the team standings?
SB: True, from the strategy point of view it is pretty difficult to make a big change in results. Before when you made smart moves you really could gain a lot, so it is indeed a shame. Last year when you started the race from P15 you could with a good strategy end up in the points. Now basically you finish more or less where you start and that doesnt play to our advantage. But probably for the sport it looks different because now we have at least six or seven guys who are fighting for the championship - and this is because of this years regulations.
Q: Despite your poor luck, it must give you a feeling of hope when you are fighting with a team like Williams for positions - a team that has won numerous championships in the past
SB: Yes, it does. To be in front of Williams and Sauber in the championship is really good for us. We dont have even half the people that Williams have - and for sure we dont have the same budget - so what the team is doing is fantastic. Obviously you are always expecting more - probably fighting against Renault or Force India. But we have to be realistic and see that this is not possible at the moment - and have to hope that the updates that are underway are the key to more success. The team is working flat out - and I am pushing them really hard - to bring much needed updates, but there has been no date set for when we will introduce them.
Q: Some of the quicker drivers have complained about the pace of the new teams. But how is the situation for you? You are probably three seconds faster than them, but only two rows in front of them on the grid
SB: Well, it probably is more difficult for us than for the frontrunners because we are in closer contact. I on the other hand do understand the situation of the drivers of the new teams. It is not easy if you get lapped three times in a race because they also want to give their best performance, yet they always have to race with one eye on the mirror. That is not easy. It is not easy for a driver to be lapped several times, so I do understand if they are frustrated and dont let the others pass so easily because if you get lapped you lose time and they are involved in their own fights for positions. But take what happened to me in Montreal - finally I was fighting for a position in the points and I came out of the pits beside Timo Glock, but he didnt let me pass for a whole lap, so I lost two or three seconds - and that can make a huge difference in the end. It is not an easy situation and we all have to be extra careful not to destroy somebody elses race.
Q: Montreal was a race where you could again show your true colours. Was this the beginning of an upward curve - and will that trend continue here in Valencia?
SB: A lot of people would say it was the start of the season for me. I would say that until Montreal I was really unlucky and in Montreal luck came my way a bit, as I didnt get into troubles. And you can bet that Im looking to do it again. A few more races like Montreal - yes that would be something! It would be good for my image, for my future - and of course for the team.
Q: So what will it be for you on Sunday?
SB: To be realistic this is a track that never saw us perform well. But if I qualify well - and you get points up to P10 - then a points finish could be possible. Lets wait and see. For sure we will all do our best.