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).