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Buemi shines in Spain – but seat remains at risk

Sébastien Buemi underlines the potential for Scuderia Toro Rosso to spring a surprise in F1 2011 by starring during Barcelona testing - but has his spurt of form come too late to save his grand prix career..?
Sébastien Buemi again showcased Scuderia Toro Rosso's potential in F1 2011 with its new challenger, by setting the second-quickest time on day two around Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya – although the young Swiss ace's seat at the Red Bull 'junior' outfit this year continues to look decidedly tenuous...

With the STR6 running reliably – in contrast to a troubled previous day – Buemi was able to get through the most laps of any driver present in Spain, and a full race simulation in the morning provided useful data in terms of tyre degradation, car performance and reliability. The 22-year-old followed that up in the afternoon with lower-fuel runs and pit-stop practice, and tried out all three tyre compounds brought to the test by Pirelli as he wound up a mere four tenths adrift of pace-setter Sebastian Vettel at the close of play.

“We can be pleased with what we achieved today, because with 120 laps, it meant we completed all the programme we had planned,” he reported. “Apart from the race simulation, I was also able to do a qualifying simulation.

“We showed a reasonable performance level, and the team did a very good job in preparing the car so well. Overall, it has been a productive test. Now, we must wait and see if we can make even more progress over the next two days with Jaime [Alguersuari – team-mate] driving, and then we can see where we really are when we get to Melbourne.”

Whilst both Buemi and Alguersuari will be on the grid for the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix at the end of this month, however, rumours persist that at least one of them will fail to see out the campaign with the small Faenza-based concern.

Controversial Red Bull motorsport advisor Dr. Helmut Marko has reiterated of late that there will be no hesitation in ousting an underperforming driver – bluntly telling Blick newspaper that 'if there is no more potential for a successful grand prix career, we separate' – and with highly-rated test and reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo waiting patiently and expectantly in the wings, it is Buemi that is widely-regarded as being the current occupant of the STR ejector seat.

“There is no excuse for my weak end to the [2010] season,” he confessed, “but in 2011 we will see a new, toned Buemi who is also stronger in the head. Under normal circumstances, I will have Jaime under control.”

To see Wednesday's testing times in full, click here

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Helmut Marko (AUT), Red Bull`s Motorsport Consultant, British F1, Silverstone, 4-6th, July, 2008
19.02.2011- Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), Test Driver Scuderia Toro Rosso, STR6
11.02.2011- Jaime Alguersuari (SPA), Scuderia Toro Rosso, STR6
19.02.2011- Jaime Alguersuari (SPA), Scuderia Toro Rosso, STR6
12.02.2011- SŽbastien Buemi (SUI), Scuderia Toro Rosso, STR6
03.02.2011  Sebastien Buemi (SUI), Scuderia Toro Rosso
01.02.2011 Valencia, Spain,  SŽbastien Buemi (SUI), Scuderia Toro Rosso - Scuderia Toro Rosso STR6 Launch - Formula 1 World Championship
12.02.2011- SŽbastien Buemi (SUI), Scuderia Toro Rosso, STR6
21.02.2011- SŽbastien Buemi (SUI), Scuderia Toro Rosso, STR6
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Sauber, F1 [Credit: Honda Racing]
Sebastien Ogier, Red Bull, RB7, F1 test [Credit: Red Bull Content Pool]
Start of the race - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 leads
Start of the race - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 leads
Start of the race - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 leads
Start of the race - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 leads
F1 Sparks
Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12
Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12

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