While Sébastien Buemi strapped himself into the cockpit to start our first test session of the year, team-mate Jaime Alguersuari was meeting the world’s press He immediately had them laughing when he pointed out that, when it’s his turn to drive on Wednesday, it will be the first time he has ever taken part in a Formula 1 test session.
Amazing but true, given that he joined Toro Rosso at last year’s Hungarian GP and the in-season testing ban meant he had to jump in at the deep end. “Last year, every Grand Prix was a test, which was a big disadvantage.”
“I’ve been doing a lot of training in Austria and Spain with my personal trainer, which means we had plenty of time to get in good shape for the season,” said the Spaniard. “That doesn’t mean the job is going to be much easier than last year, because F1 is always tough. But I do feel I can be more competitive and better prepared. Last year, everything happened so fast and I didn’t know the car, the circuits or the team. This year, I will get to drive for several days before the first race, while last year I had no testing at all.”
It’s bound to happen a lot in the coming weeks – everyone wants to know what the other drivers think of the return of the Schumi. “I think it’s nice,” reckoned Jaime. “His presence will make the sport stronger and everyone will be motivated. Michael is not just the Number 1 in Formula 1, he is a professional athlete and it’s great he is back. But on the track he will be just one more driver. I admire his love of the sport.”
Jaime Alguersuari is keen to try his hand at driving with a full fuel load for the first time. “The cars will be tough to drive on full tanks, but the car is designed to do that. It will be important in testing to do long runs to get used to this.” He is aware that, even if the circuits in the first half of the season will be new to him, he can no longer claim 'rookie' status. “For sure, expectations will be higher now, with different goals and objectives.”
Rather prematurely, given he hasn’t driven the car yet, Jaime was asked for his thoughts on STR5. “It looks nice from the outside, and I know that its insides are also good. The basis is quite similar to last year’s car and I think we can have a good year, partly down to the fact that I am better prepared. But let’s wait and see as it is far too soon to say. As for the racing, I think the new rules will make it more exciting for spectators, as it will be less about strategy and, with qualifying run only on low fuel, the one who gets the pole position time will really be the fastest guy on track.”Source Toro Rosso