Exclusive Q&A with Toro Rossos Sebastien Buemi 09 Sep 2011
Time is ticking for driver Sebastian Buemi. Currently competing in his third season with Toro Rosso, Buemi has been working hard to prove his worth so he can keep hold of his race seat next season. Last time out in Belgium, he had been running in sixth after a great start but soon after was punted out by the Sauber of Sergio Perez. He hopes to make amends in Monza this weekend and is optimistic he can, despite crashing out of Practice Two on Friday afternoon
Q: Sebastien, today wasnt the best for you - what happened?
Sebastien Buemi: Friday morning was fine. In the afternoon I hit the wall and damaged the car so was only able to do seven laps. It is not an ideal start to a race weekend, but my guys told me that tomorrow is another day and that together we will fix the damage. Sure its sad not being able to complete more laps but the team will put all the info from Jaimes (Alguersuari) car on my car so that the mileage loss stays within the limits.
Q: Spa was pretty tough. Both cars had good positions on the grid but both were out within the first ten laps
SB: Oh, yes, it was a bit difficult to get over such a weekend. I was in P6 after the first five laps so it looked pretty good. And some laps later you stand there empty-handed. Thats tough. But we have to take the positives from it. We had a good car and we had a good qualifying which is a great sign for the future because weve shown that we can be quick. So ending up with both cars out was a kick in the face for the team but well get over it. Monza is a totally different matter and we will take our chances again this weekend.
Q: There is a belief that if you do well in Spa you are very likely to also do well in Monza. Is that something youre banking on?
SB: Well, I think in the past it was like that. Force India for example found that. But Spa was in the wet and it wont be wet here. But we have a lot of optimism for the weekend and we believe that we can achieve a good result.
Q: Italy is the home race for Toro Rosso. So the team must want to do well here
SB: Of course this is special and of course we want do to well here. A lot of staff from Faenza are here and a lot of fans of the team. So knowing that we are only a short distance away from our home base is always inspiring!
Q: Your team principal Franz Tost said once that you have to give a driver three years to properly gauge his talents. Your three years are up at the end of this season..
SB: In principal I think he is right. Because at the end of the day you have to know what the performance of the driver is. We are ahead of Williams and one of the objectives that we had for this season was to finish ahead of one of the established teams. Right now we are doing a pretty good job and Franz has said that to us. If the results follow, I dont see any issue at all for me.
Q: Do you feel pressure from your team mate Alguersuari and Daniel Ricciardo, who has recently been outsourced to HRT?
SB: Honestly I dont know Red Bulls plans. So it is difficult for me to speak about that. When he was driving our car on Friday mornings we had compared well. But now he is fighting against Liuzzi. Sure everybody has to fight for his own place, but to be honest I dont bother myself about whats going to happen over the next couple of months. I want to go into every race solely focused on that challenge - everything else will follow. Good results are the best ticket to a 2012 cockpit.
Q: How satisfied are you with your season so far?
SB: I think I can be quite satisfied with myself so far. On many occasions I have got the maximum out of the car. Ive finished five times in the points but of course there is always room to improve. If you take a look at the season as a whole, there have been improvements for the team, the drivers and in results. So there are no sad faces here.
Q: Youve made it into Q3 on two occasions. How difficult is it to break into the top ten qualifying shootout?
SB: It is indeed very difficult. You have to have special conditions or a very good car. Take for example the qualifying in Spa. Jaime made it into Q3 and if I hadnt made a minor mistake on my fastest lap I would have also made it. It would have meant both cars into Q3 without problems. It is a matter of having everything together for that one fast lap - and it is working better and better for us.
Q: How have you improved over the last three years?
SB: Well it is a constant learning process. The first year you are obviously getting familiar with the Formula One procedure. Getting to know all circuits and getting to know your team. That is something that occupies you pretty intensively. Year two and three you have to constantly improve in these matters. It is really also about handling different situations in the least possible time. Not having to think about what to do in a situation but having everything come naturally to you.
Q: The team are currently pretty much at the same level they were at last year. Do you think they are moving forward?
SB: On the contrary - we are doing much better. We were P9 in the constructors in 2010 and are now a very secure P8 with the aim to go higher. So we are definitely stronger this year.
Q: There are only 13 points between sixth and eighth positions in the constructors championship. Toro Rosso are eighth, Force India are seventh and Sauber are sixth. Your aim must be to rise above eighth. Is that the goal for the remainder of the season?
SB: If we hadnt been kicked out of the race in Spa the standings would look very differently at this moment. So the potential is there. We thought that we would struggle in Spa, but in fact we were very good. So lets hope the same applies this weekend, despite me hitting the wall and missing much of Practice Two.
For Formula One and F1 team merchandise, click here.