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GP Week : Issue 50
5 Minutes with ... SEBASTIEN BUEMI Toro Rosso’s rookie has surprised many with his performances in 2009, including GPWEEK EditorWILL BUXTON, who spoke with him in Turkey GPWEEK: Seven races in, how’s it going? SEBASTIEN BUEMI: I would say I was really happy with the start of the season. We were not expecting to score points because we got the car really late in the testing season, but we’ve got a really good car. Reliability is good, so that was the main thing in the first few races. We went into Q3 in China and scored another point and that was very good, but for the last few races it went a bit more difficult. Our pace is still quite good, we just struggled in Bahrain and Barcelona a bit because of the heat. In Monaco we were faster because I qualified 11th and Bourdais scored a point. The speed is there which is the most important thing, Arriving in F1 there were many people who didn’t know too much about you, or perhaps pointed to your GP2 statistics and said that maybe you didn’t deserve to be in F1. How does it feel to put people right? In the end it’s always good if you can do it but I wasn’t thinking about that. If you look at everything from the karting to Formula BMW to F3 I was always there. It was just in the main championship in GP2 that I struggled, but in Asia I finished second. It’s always good if you can do a good job there, but in F1 you need to do the results. The comparison with Bourdais isn’t too bad at the moment but it’s going in the right direction. The comparison with Bourdais is fantastic and, comparative to his experience, it must be a great feeling to be faster than him. If you look at qualifying for sure we look a lot faster than him, but he scored a point in Monaco … if I had finished the race it might have been good for us, but I feel good. I hope to continue like that but everyone is improving so much and so fast so it is difficult to improve like that, especially with our structure. But we are there, not far away and sometimes a couple of tenths can change your life. For Budapest we’ll have a very big update and from there on I hope and I think 18 that the development will be slower. At the moment everything you put on the car makes it faster so it’s difficult for us to stay competitive. You’ve come in and replaced Sebastian Vettel. After what he achieved last year how much pressure is there on you to fill his shoes? For sure, it’s not easy. Even if you do a good result, scoring points or going into Q3, they’ve already done it last year with Vettel so it’s a bit, like, normal… you know? Everybody’s happy and they know how hard it is, but on the outside I think people maybe think it’s normal and we should do it always. But what can I do? I just do my job, try to do my best and what Vettel did was very good but that’s it. You see how fast the sport changes. McLaren and Ferrari won the titles last year and now they’re at the back, while for Brawn it’s the opposite. It goes fast and you can’t compare. The best comparison you have is with your team-mate. Only two Swiss drivers have won F1 races. Are you going to be the third? I hope so. It’s very difficult at the minute because everybody is fast, you don’t have reliability problems like you used to have, but at the minute it’s about scoring as many points as we can and in the future we might have a car that can win races. At the minute it’s very difficult to even think about it. We’re quite far away from winning races, so we need to aim for what we can. Your cousin is Natacha Gachnang – what is it about your family and racing? It’s a bit difficult to explain. Our Grandfather was a racing driver as well, doing Le Mans, the 1000km of Nurburgring, stuff like that, and a lot of hillclimbs in Switzerland. So Natacha and I arrived in karting together because our Fathers didn’t know what to do with us so we both went karting like that. We were always driving together, then to Formula BMW together. She had Willi Weber as a manager, I ended up with Red Bull and we went different routes. She’s looking good though, a difficult first weekend in F2 but she’s doing well. Maybe you’ll both be in F1 one day? We’ll see. It’s so difficult to get there. I hope for her. There’s no girls in F1 but maybe one day. So if you weren’t a driver what would you do? Difficult to say, I never thought about it. I can’t remember my life without cars and racing. I think I would be at school, studying economics. I used to like that, so I’d probably be doing that. I had the choice when I signed with Red Bull to still do school and race, or concentrate on racing, and I think I made the right choice because at the moment it is so difficult to keep yourself at the top that if