Sebastien Buemi, 21
Scuderia Toro Rosso
He’s Swiss but you definitely can’t miss him. Sebastien Buemi got his first taste of motorsport racing at the age of 16 with Formula BMW before quickly moving on to higher formulae. Now that he’s into his second season of Formula One, and has slowly but surely been starting to make people sit up and notice.
So far he’s had an up and down season with some near top 10 or better finishes, but also some retirements, including a crash at the Shanghai Grand Prix. At last year’s Singapore Grand Prix, he finished the race early with a retirement. Let’s hope he has better luck this year.
You’ve had more than 30 races now, how do you think you’ve changed since you’ve first joined Toro Rosso?
The answer is in the question, in that I now have much more experience than when I first started with Scuderia Toro Rosso, having only driven an F1 car in a test session. I have a much better understanding of what the job involves, but there is still much for me to learn, as F1 is such a technical sport and you need to understand that side of it and how to work with your engineers. It is not enough just to be a quick driver.
How do you feel your season is going so far?
To be honest, it has not gone so well. In the early races, I had a lot of bad luck, often involved in accidents that were not at all my fault and that has also been the case more recently, in Belgium, where someone drove into me and I had to make an early pit stop as my car was damaged. But every race is a new opportunity to do well, so I am still very much looking forward to the rest of the season.
How do you hope to do at the Singapore Grand Prix?
I hope we have a good qualifying on Saturday, as a good grid position is always very important on a tight and twisty street circuit. If we can manage that, then maybe we could do well in the race.
Off the track, how do you prepare for a race?
Keeping fit is always a priority and for somewhere like Singapore, which is particularly hot and humid it is important to do some outdoor training, like running in these conditions to be acclimatised before the race weekend begins.
Tell us about the accident at the Chinese Grand Prix – what do you remember from it, and how did you feel as it was happening?
It seems a long time ago now. It was certainly an unusual crash, caused by a technical problem on the car. It was a relatively high speed crash, but there was no heavy impact and I was perfectly ok afterwards. Looking at it on TV, you could see I was still trying to steer the car with the steering wheel, even though there were no front wheels left, so I just reacted in an automatic reflex way.
Tell us something about yourself that people might not know.
My grandfather was also a racing driver and he follows my career with interest.
If you hadn’t become a race driver, what would you be doing now?
I would be studying at university. I am very interested in the stock markets and other financial matters, so I would be doing Business Studies.
The Singapore Grand Prix Night Race is on from Friday to Sunday, Sep 24-26.