He might have racked up the miles with Red Bull's two Formula One teams in the last year, and he may have blitzed recent test sessions while running a modified 2008 car, but Sebastien Buemi is under no illusion about the steepness of the climb he faces in his first season of competition in the top flight.

Nevertheless, the Swiss youngster is eager to point out that, once the visor goes down on his Red Bull-liveried helmet, he is just another driver who has to do his best in order hold on to one of the 20 most coveted seats in motorsport.

Elevated from GP2 ahead of the six drivers who finished with more points than he did in 2008 - including champion Giorgio Pantano and Bruno Senna, who was linked to several F1 seats during the winter - Buemi will join Sebastien Bourdais in a relative inexperienced Toro Rosso line-up, and has just three weeks to get to grips with the team's new STR4, which only hit the track, in Bourdais' hands, on Monday.

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With Senna failing to land the second seat at the rechristened Brawn GP team, Buemi will be the only newcomer in the field when the season starts for real in Melbourne, but he is keen to avoid being saddled with the 'rookie' tag.

''In the end, when you sit in the car, it doesn't really matter if you're the only rookie or not,'' he told journalists at the STR4's unveiling in Barcelona, ''I will just try to concentrate as best as possible on my job, and that's it. I just need to relax and think about what I need to do, rather than [think about] the pressure of being the only rookie.''

In line with most newcomers, however, he admits that his main yardstick will be in the car across the garage from him.

''If the car is fast, we want to achieve something good,'' he pointed out, ''but the objective is to fight against my team-mate, to prove myself during the whole season so that I can arrive at the end and be happy with what I did.''

While running in the 2008 car will not have 100 per cent relevance to the job in hand this season, Buemi was grateful to have sealed his deal with STR in time to get as much track time as possible.

''I did quite a lot of testing, but it's never enough,'' he admitted, knowing that, once the Australian GP weekend starts, he will be limited to practice sessions at races in order to build both his experience and confidence.

''I would say I feel quite good at the moment, but we need to wait for the new car. We need to see what we can do, and I am really looking forward to being in the car on Wednesday and Thursday. Right now, I feel quite confident, but Melbourne will come fast. We have the end of this week, and then another week, and that's it.''

If the focus of being the only rookie in the pack is something he is not keen to carry, however, representing his nation is a source of pride for Buemi. While Neel Jani - a Red Bull prospect who failed to get the F1 breaks - sets about chasing back-to-back honours for Switzerland in A1GP's 'World Cup of Motorsport', Buemi will become the first of his countrymen to sit on an F1 grid since the hapless Jean-Denis Deletraz started two races with Pacific Grand Prix in 1995.

''There are many drivers in Switzerland who have tried to get to F1, but it is really difficult,'' he reflected, ''You don't get much support from the people there, but at least I have shown it is possible.

''It means people will push harder because, in Switzerland, there is a lot of passion, and this is quite important. I know I can say I'm proud to be representing my country in F1 this year.''