Alguersuari: Qualifying the big challenge
|By Jonathan Noble||Monday, September 7th 2009, 15:00 GMT|
Jaime Alguersuari thinks the art of qualifying has been the biggest hurdle he has had to face since his switch to Formula 1.
The Spaniard became the youngest driver in history at the Hungarian Grand Prix when he was drafted in as the replacement at Scuderia Toro Rosso for Sebastien Bourdais.
Although he has made steady progress since then to justify Toro Rosso's decision to promote him for experience ahead of a full campaign in 2010, Alguersuari thinks that it is getting the single lap out of the car on Saturday afternoon that is his biggest hurdle.
"At the moment, I'm still very much in a development phase, coming into F1 at a time when there is no testing," he said. "Step by step, I'm getting there and every time I get in the car, I learn more, improve my understanding and go faster.
"Generally, I'm happy with the way things are going. I'd say qualifying is the toughest challenge at the moment, because you have to get everything absolutely spot on over just one lap with a specific type of tyre and specific fuel load.
"If you don't do a perfect lap on Saturday afternoon, your race is compromised and getting the best out of a new set of tyres is the hardest thing for a newcomer."
Alguersuari also thinks that the off-track life of an F1 driver is a step up from anything he has experienced elsewhere in his career.
"The way you have to work in Formula 1 is far more complex than in the other formulae," he said. "I'm getting used to it and I've got experience of moving up from one category to another or switching from one team to another, having to adapt to different philosophies.
"In F1, there are a lot more technical meetings, plus all the work on the media side. Now, after three races, it's beginning to feel more natural.
"I am enjoying the experience very much: last weekend for example, I really liked driving the car in the wet at Spa. Sometimes though, it's been quite tough and I can hardly believe I'm racing in F1. I think that, only at the end of this season, will I be able to stop and think that I am in this sport, competing against the best drivers in the world."