Jaime Alguersuari has conceded that the current in-season testing ban in F1 is hurting his performance - but he is confident that Scuderia Toro Rosso's recent upturn in form in 2011 can be maintained.

Over the first six races of the present campaign, Alguersuari looked odds-on to be heading for the exit door at Faenza, finding himself out-qualified on all-bar one occasion by team-mate S?bastien Buemi, and routinely outpaced in the races by the Swiss ace, too - and all the while with the spectre of highly-rated reserve driver and Red Bull prot?g? Daniel Ricciardo lurking menacingly in the wings.

With Red Bull motorsport advisor Dr. Helmut Marko having made no bones about the fact that a lack of performance this season from either driver would emphatically not be tolerated - with the inference being that Ricciardo could be parachuted into one of the two cockpits at any given moment - the situation looked bleak for Alguersuari, but then came Montreal and Valencia, both races in which the young Spaniard produced an exemplary effort to take the chequered flag in eighth place.

Not only have those results represented STR's best of 2011 to-date, but with Ricciardo set to make his official race debut with Hispania now rather than the Red Bull 'junior' outfit, the pressure has been momentarily relieved. With a little more opportunity to test - something that is being debated by F1's powers-that-be - Alguersuari contends that days like those two highlights in Canada and Spain last month could become the rule rather than merely the exception.

"Pressure is something you build yourself," the 21-year-old - still the youngest competitor ever to start a grand prix - told Autocar. "You need to live with it, and it's natural in life to create your own pressure and find a way to deal with it. The only pressure that is valuable is mine.

"This season so far has been pretty good. We can still get better, and we have recently made big progress with race pace and consistency. I'm missing testing - and that's a big thing - but not anything else."

As to the controversial innovations introduced this year - like DRS and the soon-to-be-banned off-throttle blown-exhausts - Alguersuari reveals that he is 'happy' with the regulations, reasoning: "F1 is an innovative sport and always has something new to showcase. We are the example to the rest of the world."