Sebastien Buemi says he has 'big expectations' about the 2011 F1 season after Toro Rosso launched its STR6 on the opening day of pre-season testing in Valencia.
The Swiss driver will lead Toro Rosso for a third season this year having been retained over the winter, with the team being one of those on the grid to have kept an unchanged line-up for the new campaign.
With two years of experience now behind him, Buemi said he was aiming high for the year ahead although admits that he will need to push to the maximum to achieve his target of scoring more championship points than in 2010.
“I have big expectations to be honest, as I have quite a lot of experience now,” he said. “I know all the circuits, I know how Formula 1 works and we also have quite a lot of experience in terms of building up the car. So, if all goes well and hopefully it will, we should be able to score many points and finish in the top eight of the Constructors' championship.
“I have to give the maximum, getting the most out of myself and I need to have a good car, which is obvious as it is actually the same for all the drivers. The team is doing a good job to get everything working better than before and hopefully produce a quicker car. We switched the focus to the 2011 car pretty early in the season last year, so I have big hopes for the start of the season and how things will work out.”
Like many of his rivals, Buemi admitted it was difficult to judge how Toro Rosso will perform against the other teams due to the various changes being implemented in the sport, with the return of KERS, a moveable rear wing and a switch to Pirelli tyres being the major changes made for the year ahead.
“This season with all the rule changes, it could be a bit difficult, especially in the early stages at the first few races,” he said. “It is not yet really clear how we will use the rear wing and the KERS as we are still awaiting a rule clarification. It will take a bit of time to get used to it, but that will be the job of the drivers to be on top of it to the maximum by the start of the season. We will be trying to get up to speed during the winter tests to see what we can do and how we can improve it.
“We had two test days in Abu Dhabi at the end of the last championship [to test the Pirelli tyres] and it will be important to understand them quickly, because this might make a big difference when you get to the first race. We will learn how they work in cold conditions with all the testing in Europe, but as soon as we get to Bahrain the four days of testing will be very important in terms of understanding their behaviour in our qualifying and race simulations.”