Sébastien Buemi has acknowledged that he is facing the biggest challenge of his motorsport career in 2009 after being signed up by Scuderia Toro Rosso to make his Formula 1 debut – but is confident that he is more than up to the task and will not let anyone down.
The 20-year-old will be the youngest driver on the grid for the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne at the end of March, and has already made history by becoming the youngest-ever race-winner in both the feeder GP2 Series and Formula 3.
He recognises, however, that no allowances will be made for his youth or inexperience when he makes his top flight bow, and well appreciates that the pressure will be on him from the word 'go', particularly given that the man whose seat he is filling – Sebastian Vettel – won a race during his first full campaign with STR in 2008 and went on to finish eighth in the final drivers' standings.
“F1 is a whole new level,” Buemi is quoted as having said by British newspaper The Sun
. “It's something I've been preparing for all my life and suddenly, everything one has done up until that point seems insignificant.
“It meant I had successfully completed all the previous stages and from now on, it was up to me to show Red Bull that they made the right decision in showing this confidence in me.
“There's always a slight feeling of apprehension going into a new season of motor racing. I always feel I want to do a good job, [and] I know there will be pressure in F1, more than in the past, but that's part of the game.
“I've already been the youngest winner in GP2 and Formula 3. That was nice, but in F1 it counts for nothing; age does not matter. I can compete against 25 or 40-year-olds and that makes no difference to me. I would like to be the fastest, whatever my age.”
In addition to finishing as runner-up in the 2007/08 GP2 Asia Series, the Swiss star triumphed twice in F1's ante-chamber's summer campaign en route
to sixth spot in the title chase at season's end with Trust Team Arden. Moreover, he has already conducted more than 6,000 testing kilometres thanks to his role as official test driver for Red Bull Racing last year.
“Each step of the way, you need to be perfectly prepared,” he explained, “so now it's up to me to make sure I'm perfectly prepared before the first grand prix in Melbourne to show what I can do. F1 is more physically demanding, but you gradually get used to all of this and everything must eventually become instinctive.