Jaime Alguersuari admits that 2011 will be a 'key season' as he prepares to embark on his second full year as an F1 driver.
The Spaniard joined the grid mid-way through 2009 as a replacement for Sebastien Bourdais in the Toro Rosso line-up before securing a full-time drive last year – where he scored a best finish on ninth in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi.
Retained for a second full year, the former British F3 title winner will now aim to help Toro Rosso achieve its pre-season aim of finishing at least eighth in the championship standings and he admitted it was vital for the team to take the fight to the likes of Williams, Force India and Sauber.
“I think it is definitely a key season for me this year,” he said. “Every season is important and definitely this one is going to be very significant for myself, because it is my second full year in Formula 1 and because it is the second year that Toro Rosso builds its own car.
“It will be completely decisive for our future, for the future of Toro Rosso and for my future, because we obviously need to target our competitors which are Williams, Force India and Sauber. We need to fight against them and finish the championship ahead of them.”
The new STR6 features a series of changes thanks to the new F1 regulations, with the sport taking steps to improve the show for fans by encouraging overtaking through the use of an adjustable rear wing.
Teams are currently testing the wing for the first time during the opening day of testing in Valencia and Alguersuari said he felt the new rules would make overtaking easier for the drivers on track.
“I think in Formula 1 you always look for overtaking performance and definitely last year, it was not easy to overtake,” he said. “That has always been the case in Formula 1: it is always difficult to overtake another car because as you know you brake very near to the actual corner. Even if one car has a speed advantage, it is never that easy, so I think in general we always look for overtaking performance.
“This year, it can be different with the KERS system and definitely with less downforce on the car, we should expect to have to brake a bit earlier and with the moveable rear wing all these kind of things will make overtaking easier.”