Q & A with Sebastien Buemi

Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi will be the only rookie on the grid in Melbourne, but the young Swiss driver already has a lot of F1 miles under his belt thanks to his previous gig as Red Bull test driver

Q & A with Sebastien Buemi

The one thing he hasn't yet done is sample a full 2009-spec car, and with teammate Sebastien Bourdais driving the opening two days of the Barcelona test that began today, Buemi will have to wait until Thursday for his first taste of the new STR4.

Q. It looks like you are the only rookie this year. Does that put a lot of attention on you?

Sebastien Buemi: In the end, when you sit in the car it doesn't really matter if you're the only rookie or not. I just try to concentrate as best as possible on my job, and that's it. You just need to relax and think about what you need to do, rather than the pressure of being the only rookie.

Q. Do you feel well-prepared? You have done quite a lot of miles in the older car over the last few months.

SB: I did quite a lot, but it's never enough. But I would say, yeah, I feel quite good at the moment. Now we need to wait for the new car, we need to see what we can do, and I am really looking forward to being in the car on Wednesday and Thursday. Right now I feel quite confident.

Q. Does it make a difference that you have not got much time in the new car? Although you have done lots of miles in the old car, it's this one you have to concentrate on.

SB: Exactly. It makes a difference for sure, because this is the car that we are going to race this year, so it is more important to spend a lot of time in it. We had no other option so we stayed in the old car and it was quite good as well, because I could learn all the procedures and stuff, so it was quite good.

Q. How excited are you?

SB: I'm very excited at the moment. I would say that I am really excited to drive the new car. Melbourne will come fast - we have the end of this week, and then another week, and that's it. So I am really looking forward to being in the car.

Q. Will there be nerves when you are sitting on the grid in Australia?

SB: For sure there will be. I haven't thought too much about it at the moment. I was just thinking about what I have to learn and what I have to do, so at the moment I am just focusing on what I still have to learn, and the test, and the new car, and I will have enough time to think about that on the plane and stuff like that.

Q. Does it make it easier to come into F1 at a time when the rules have changed, without having to adapt from the grooved tyres and so on?

SB: I would say for this year it is not such an advantage, because I did quite a lot of miles with the old car and I would say that if the rules have stayed the same it would have been easier for me, because I used to the old car and it is where I did most of the kilometres. But it is like that for everybody, so you don't think about it. I just sit in the car and drive. But it's clear that a few more miles in the new car would have been better.

Q. It is a long time since there has been a Swiss driver in F1. Do you feel a sense of pride about that?

SB: Yeah, I feel quite proud. There are many drivers in Switzerland who tried to get to F1 - it is really difficult. You don't get very much support from the people there. But it is quite good, especially for the young people who are trying to get into F1 because they can see that it is possible, so everybody pushes harder. We really see in Switzerland that there is a lot of passion, and this is quite important.

Q. It's ironic there's a Swiss-based team and you're racing for an Italian one?

SB: There are only 20 drivers on the grid and 10 teams, so I'm happy to be with Toro Rosso. Red Bull have been supporting me for many years, so it was the right direction.

Q. When you get to the end of the season, what will you hope to have achieved?

SB: It's a bit too early to say. If the car is fast we want to achieve something good, if not, then we will try to do our best. But the objective is to fight against my teammate, to prove myself during the whole season, so I arrive at the end and be happy with what I did.

Q. You are probably too young to remember Clay Regazzoni, but was there a driver you looked up to as a kid and thought, 'I want to be like that?

SB: When I was kid I was looking at Michael Schumacher, Hakkinen and those people. They're the drivers I really remember from watching TV. I once met Regazzoni when I was really small, and I know Marc Surer quite well, so I've a bit of an idea of the old guys.

Q. You haven't driven a 2009 car yet, but have you had a chance to try many of the 2009 changes on last year's car?

SB: We've not tried KERS, but we've tried slicks and tried to repeat the downforce a little in the direction of the 2009 car. It is really difficult because there have been a lot of changes. It's pretty hard, but we tried our best and we did a lot of miles, and it was quite good.

Q. The guy you are replacing won a race last year. How possible is it for you to get close to that, or to even win a race this year?

SB: In Formula One everything changes so fast, and I would say Vettel did a fantastic job. We need to wait and see what will be our possibilities. For sure we always want to improve. We don't want to do a step back. We need to keep in mind what we achieved last year, and now, with the new rules we need to wait and be realistic but at the minute I think we can do a good job.

Q. Away from track, what do you do to stay relaxed?

SB: I try to think about other things, keep relaxed. I stay with my family and I train hard. When you think about your training, it's quite difficult to relax at the end of the day because you are tired, and you know did a lot, so it is quite good.

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