Jaime Alguersuari has admitted that being thrown in at the deep end in Formula 1 this year by employers Scuderia Toro Rosso was not the easiest way to make his entrance into the top flight – but having made steady progress, the Spanish teenager is now eyeing a top ten finish on the team's 'home' turf at Monza this coming weekend.
When he made his maiden appearance for the small Faenza-based Red Bull 'junior' outfit in the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring back at the end of July, Alguersuari broke an F1 record by becoming the youngest-ever debutant in the sport's official 60-year history.
What's more, the 19-year-old defied paddock sceptics and even cynical fellow drivers in arguably out-performing STR team-mate Sébastien Buemi in both Budapest and Valencia four weeks later, and all-in-all has given a very promising account of himself – even if his Belgian Grand Prix effort last time out did prove to be somewhat short-lived...
“It was difficult,” Alguersuari reflected of his graduation, speaking to 422race.com
, “because it's the most expensive and difficult category where I have driven, but I'd say we are doing a great job. We are there to learn, and I think we should be happy.
“For me, experience is more important than age – it's the most important thing. It's important to come [in] as a young driver with lots of experience. I debuted at 19, but I'm still missing some sporting experience.
“At Spa we were already competitive, so [the goal for Monza is] simply to finish the race. We made progress in Spa and we hope to be closer at Monza. A top ten result would be good for me.”
In-between races, meanwhile, the reigning British F3 Champion underlined his predilection for racing whenever and wherever he can – he is continuing to dovetail his World Series by Renault commitments for Carlin Motorsport in 2009 with his F1 drive – by returning to his roots and taking part in the CIK-FIA KZ1 Karting World Cup at Sarno in southern Italy at the weekend, showing well before dropping out of the grand final with just four laps left to run.
“I had this idea because I think it's good training for Formula 1 and for cars in general,” the Barcelona native explained. “I'm a Formula 1 driver, but also a kart one – I always have been and I always will be. You never lose your love for go-karting; it's unique, with it you have feelings that you don't get with any car.
“The main problem [in F1] is that you don't have testing, so you can't drive. The best training for F1 is driving something, so that's why I'm here! If you can't drive a Formula 1 car, then you drive anything else, like a GT or a kart.”