When Jaime Alguersuari made his Formula 1 début at the Hungaroring mid-way through 2009, many considered the then 19-year-old too young and inexperienced to be partaking in a race at the top level.
Now 20, the young Spaniard has shown himself to be worthy of his drive; occasionally wrenching some wonderful performances out of a Toro Rosso car that often finds itself at the tail end of the mid-pack.
His battle with Michael Schumacher at Melbourne have been well documented – a fight for position that he won, while his pass around the outside of Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg at turn 5 at Sepang must rank as one of the great overtakes of the season.
So with Grand Prix circus in South Korea for the first time, Alguersuari finds himself on a level playing field with the rest of the grid at a circuit that is a big unknown to all the teams.
Despite all this, the young man found time after first practice to answer some questions for the F1 and Motorsports Archive. So, what does Jaime think of Formula 1 so far, his team mate and the internet?
Formula 1 Archive: Jaime, since making your début at the Hungaroring last year, how would you assess your achievements in Formula 1 so far?
Jaime Alguersuari: I think I can sum up the difference by saying I am a Formula 1 driver now and I was not when I drove in Hungary last year. I had great fun in that race, but the car was driving me around the track rather the other way round. So the main achievement has been in adapting to the top level of motor sport despite having very little experience.
F1A: Your team mate Sebastien Buemi is currently five points ahead of you in the Championship standings – how important to you is the inter-team battle?
JA: Your first rival is always your team mate and so I would like to be beating him. I am not so concerned about the points difference: we have both lost points we should have had this year. But I do feel I am getting closer to him in terms of lap times which is what matters and sometimes I have been quicker. The most important thing is that even if we fight one another on track, we work together with the engineers to try and improve the car for both of us.
F1A: For much of your time in Formula 1, you have been venturing to circuits that are completely new to you. What kind of preparation do you need to do when racing at a circuit for the first time?
JA: I have not found that so difficult and also, even some of the tracks I knew before actually seem completely different when you are in a Formula 1 car. I find I can learn a new track quite quickly and now we have a simulator that we can use which also helps us learn new tracks.
F1A: Do you have a specific set of goals for the 2011 season?
JA: You cannot have specific goals, because as a driver, your performance depends mainly on what equipment you are given by the team and then how that equipment compares to that of other teams. But in general terms, I am looking forward to driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso, to improving and to move up the order.
F1A: You have been quite active with social networking sites, such as Twitter. How important is for you to connect with fans, even if it is at most basic level?
JA: I enjoy all the social networking and Twitter is nice and quick which suits my lifestyle and my job!
F1A: Best of luck in Korea.
You can follow both Jaime Alguersuari and Toro Rosso Spy on Twitter. Jaime Alguersuari starts from 15th position at the inaugural Korean Grand Prix tomorrow morning.
My thanks to both Jaime Alguersuari and Marieluise Mammitzsch (Toro Rosso media team).
6 thoughts on “Q&A: Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso, Formula 1)”
How cool is that, very nice of him to take the time to answer your questions. I had actually been looking at his stats today and there’s not that much to choose between them, certainly not enough to suggest that Buemi could be in line for a seat at Ferrari as I have seen speculated elsewhere. I would like to see how Jaime would get on if the team were just that little bit quicker.
Yes, it was excellent that Jaime took time out for the Q&A – great stuff.
It’s interesting, because both Toro Rosso and Force India are probably two teams that have really seen end of year drop off as they stopped developing.
Whereas it feels like Force India are genuinely going backwards due to losing some key people, I wonder if Toro Rosso are really pushing with next year’s car.
2011 is a big year for both the team and their drivers.
Top stuff Leigh and thanks to Jaime for spending the time. He has definitely proven his worth over the last year and a half.
Funny thing, I was watching a 2009 World Series race this afternoon and Jaime put a great move on someone for the lead. At the time when I heard he was doing well I was sceptical because the championship is run by his Dad, but earlier when I was actually watching that move – and then seeing him drive away from the field – it showed he’s definitely F1 material.
I like his style and attitude too. 🙂
He has pulled some stunning overtakes so far this year, but that move around Hulkenberg at Sepang – simply stunning.
Definitely a top-three with Barrichello on Schumacher (Hungary) and Petrov on Rosberg (Belgium)