We spoke to Toro Rosso's Spanish driver Jaime Alguersuari as the Italian team launched the new STR6 in Valencia, Spain, on Tuesday, February 1.
What does the 2011 season mean to you?
I think it is definitely a key season for me this year. 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 One and because it is the second year that Toro Rosso builds its own car, so 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.
With KERS and the adjustable rear wing, you are going to be very busy in the cockpit. How will you deal with all this new technology?
I think 2011 rules are not tested yet so we will see how they work. It looks quite difficult to adapt to the KERS and the adjustable rear wing. We need to test it and see how it goes. I think the KERS is not so difficult, because before the race weekend you can already study and understand the places where you can use it and how to use it during the race. However, the rear wing I’m not sure about. It’s a question mark for everyone, for all the drivers. In 2010 we had the front wing, where we could feel quite a difference definitely on the car balance in the race and when you changed tyre compound and when you had big tyre degradation it was a big help. We will see how it goes with the rear wing because it’s a completely new thing for everyone.
You had one day driving on Pirelli tyres in Abu Dhabi. What do you expect the change in tyre supplier will bring?
That’s another big question mark for everybody – the tyres. I think Pirelli tyres will work quite well, because we had a good experience in Abu Dhabi, the first test so far. We were quite happy with the performance of the tyres. Bridgestone was a big reference for everyone, because they had a so much experience in Formula One. I don’t really know how fast or slow we will be on the Pirellis compared to them, but, so far, the performance seems quite similar so we can expect more or less the same lap times in every place.
'Knowing the whole team for one and a half years will definitely will help me a lot this season'
Do you expect all these changes will make overtaking easier, which is what they are supposed to do?
I think in Formula One you always look for overtaking performance and definitely last year, it was not easy to overtake. That has always been the case in Formula One: 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.
We face the longest season in F1 history. How can you prepare for that physically and mentally?
I think in general what you need from the physical side is to be fit going into the start of the racing, because twenty Grands Prix is a long season with one more race in India so you are looking to have a good physical condition and stay cool between all the travel and the adventures we live around the world. It will not be easy and I expect it to be tough for all us drivers to maintain a rhythm on our travels, with so many places to go and with the jet lag and so on. But with the level of fitness among Formula One drivers it will not be a big deal.
Stability – you have the same engineers, mechanics and team-mate. A useful factor?
Yes, of course, I think to stay with the same team, definitely the same engineers and with the same people and mechanics in the background in Faenza, knowing the whole team for one and a half years is quite important and definitely will help me a lot this season. I am really looking forward to the start of the year because they know what they can expect from my side and I know more or less what I can expect from my engineer and the people that work for me. So I expect a lot this season from the car and on the development side.