He may only have one grand prix under his belt, but Jaime Alguersuari is already setting himself higher targets than he took to the Hungarian Grand Prix earlier this month.
Faced with a 'home' debut on the streets around Valencia's America's Cup port, Alguersuari has made no secret of his desire to break out of the final quarter of the grid, targeting the second phase of knock-out qualifying as a minimum achievement at the European Grand Prix. The Spaniard brought up the rear of the grid in Budapest, after a technical problem stranded him out on track in Q1 after his early weekend progress had seen him close the gap to his immediate rivals, but is confident that he can go better on a circuit where the rest of the field has limited experience.
"My objective is to make it into Q2," Alguersuari told Spain's As.com
, "I don't believe I did a bad job in Hungary, in spite of the problem in qualifying. I finished 15th, but the important thing was getting experience and all the laps that I completed. Now, however, it is necessary to raise my game, to get through the first phase."
Although Scuderia Toro Rosso has insisted that there is no pressure on Alguersuari to perform in the first three races of his F1 career, the 19-year old is under no impression that he needs to show what he has to offer, with the driver carousel likely to gather pace over the winter.
"Now it is necessary to stay [in F1]," he acknowledged, "These two weeks of vacations, where I have been in Ibiza with the family, have rearmed to me after the debut at the Hungaroring. I have rested my body and my mind because I needed to disconnect, because the [grand prix] were days of much activity and tension. Now I will arrive at Valencia motivated and with bigger aspirations."
As STR predecessor Sebastien Bourdais found to his cost, the current car has not proved as competitive as Sebastien Vettel was able to make the STR3 appear in 2008, but Alguersuari expects to see new parts appearing over the remainder of the season, even if he is not personally concerned with threatening the frontrunners.
"We'll release advances, but the basic thing [for me] is to continue finishing races and racking up the kilometres," he noted.