Sébastien Buemi will enter the F1 2011 World Championship campaign with a new chief mechanic and new trainer and under pressure to perform off the back of a poor second half to 2010 – but he has vowed to 'improve in every area'.
Buemi was largely shaded by team-mate Jaime Alguersuari – a man in his first full season of F1 competition – last year, and whilst controversial Red Bull motorsport advisor Dr. Helmut Marko has described the Spaniard as being 'on the correct path', he conceded that the Swiss ace 'struggled' in the latter stages.
Although Scuderia Toro Rosso maintains that both men will stay on-board into 2011, nobody seems completely convinced – particularly given the small Faenza-based concern's reputation for being somewhat trigger-happy when it comes to hiring-and-firing. What's more, with the highly-rated Daniel Ricciardo being given the opportunity to demonstrate his mettle in a Friday practice role for the Red Bull 'junior' operation, Buemi knows his performances will be under the spotlight more keenly than ever this year.
“I disappointed my team several times when I was not aggressive enough or distracted, and there were some accidents,” the 22-year-old candidly reflected of his lacklustre form last year in an interview with Swiss newspaper Blick
. “I make no excuses. At the most there are explanations, but this analysis stays inside the team. I know why it happened, and there is a lot to talk about with the mechanics and the engineers.
“2010 is now checked off, and I know that this season I will improve in every area. I have a new chief mechanic; it's not the solution, but just one of the things I had to fix. I will also change my physiotherapist. My current trainer gave me too little mental support. F1 is not just about fitness and driving, and your physio needs to do more than hold your helmet and drinks bottle.”
Buemi's new trainer is understood to be Helmut Fink, a 45-year-old Austrian who used to work with Nick Heidfeld at BMW-Sauber – and the former GP2 Series race-winner knows he will need to be absolutely on top of his game if he is to keep the wolf from the door and stake his claim to a prolonged future on the grand prix grid...one day, he hopes, with Red Bull Racing.
“I'm not worried that I am slower than anybody and I have enough confidence in myself,” he stressed. “You can never be certain, but since 2005 Red Bull have given me so much support. I hope to be part of the family for a long time and one day race with Red Bull Racing.”