Q & A with Jaime Alguersuari
|By Jonathan Noble
||Wednesday, November 12th 2008, 08:43 GMT
Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari has already made history this year by becoming the youngest ever winner of the British Formula 3 Championship.
He is now hoping to add another important achievements to his CV this weekend by winning the Macau Grand Prix at his first attempt.
Autosport.com caught up with the Carlin Motorsport driver to talk about his hopes for the blue riband event, his plans for the future and what he thinks about Portugal's new F1 circuit.
Q. What are your feelings heading into the Macau Grand Prix?
Jaime Alguersuari: "To be honest, very good. Being the British F3 champion and winning in Bucharest, it gives me a lot of power for this race. Obviously it is my first year here and I don't know the track, so it will be tough to win or be in the top three, but that is what we are here for. We are going to try our best."
Q. What preparations have you do for this weekend?
JA: "I've watched a lot of video footage and looked at a lot of data. It is not an easy track to learn, and probably the most difficult circuit in the world I have seen. So we will see tomorrow in the free practice tomorrow how it is. It will be tough, but my teammate Brendon (Hartley) has given me some notes for the track as he knows it from last year."
Q. There are a lot of rookies here this year, do you think it is a very open field?
JA: "For sure. Also, we have some drivers who were strong in this race last year and there are some rookies from this year in F3, so I think it will be a good race, very competitive, and we will see where we are on the pace."
Q. Who do you think are your main threats?
JA: "For sure Carlo van Dam, (Edoardo) Mortara will be fast, and Brendon Hartley will be fast. There are also some rookies, like Mika Maki and Jules Bianchi who will be contenders."
Q. Has your title success from Britain sunk in yet after it all turned around in that final weekend?
JA: "Yeah, it was unbelievable. To be the first Spanish champion in Britain, and to do it in the last race, was unbelievable. I was 12 points behind (Oliver) Turvey going into that race, so it was a good gap to be able to win."
Q. Were you surprised how well the season went?
JA: "Yes. It was my first season in F3, I won five races so far and have done a couple of podiums, so I did a great job. My team, Carlin Motorsport, did also a fantastic job in British F3 and I was very impressed with our season."
Q. How big is your popularity back home in Spain now?
JA: "Oh, it's quite big. I am the first Spanish driver to win the British championship, and also to do it as a rookie, and that helped even more. I am quite glad with what I did, but there is still a lot of work to do. Next year, maybe I do GP2 or World Series by Renault, so we have to see what is the best choice for me. We have to keep on working."
Q. What is your preferred option?
JA: "I think GP2. I don't have to move up fast. I am 18 years old, I think I can learn from GP2. The biggest difference from F3 to GP2 is the tyre. Although the car is different the tyres are very different from the Avons we run in England. I just need experience to be an F1 driver."
Q. And what about your running with Toro Rosso and Red Bull?
JA: "We just do some testing. It is good experience for me. Even if I do a show run it is more mileage in an F1 car, so it is fantastic for me. I get more mileage and I get more experience."
Q. You drove the new Algarve track the other week. How was that?
JA: "It was very nice. Obviously we were not testing there, it was just a show run, but I made a good exhibition. The crowds enjoyed it a lot, I did some doughnuts and rolling starts, and the people really enjoyed it."
Q. What is the track like?
JA: "It is very fast. There are a lot of points to overtake and for an F1 track it will be awesome. For sure it is very fast, and you feel the aero a lot. So you will see a big difference between a fast and a slow car, and it is quite nice.
"There are a lot of downhill corners, like Brands Hatch and Oulton Park, and there are also blind corners - plus corners where you brake and turn. So it is quite technical in a way."