Sebastien Buemi got a taste of the World Series by Renault atmosphere on Saturday when he drove in the Infiniti Red Bull Racing F1 Show in Belgium. Before taking to the track in the Formula One world championship-winning car the Swiss driver shared his thoughts with us.
What was your very first car?
When I was 16 I started driving in a little Cuore that never went above 45 kmh.
Imagine driving that at Spa-Francorchamps.
With that car? It would take me four minutes to do a lap, maybe even more. It couldn’t go faster than 45 kmh and the track is seven kilometres long (at 45 kmh it would take more than nine minutes to complete a lap).
A few years later you were competing in the 2009 Australian Grand Prix. That must have been a very special moment for you?
It was a great race. It was my grand prix debut and I scored points too. I became one of the youngest ever drivers to do that, which was pretty cool (at the time only Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button and Ricardo Rodriguez had achieved the feat at a younger age). It was my very first F1 race and my dad made the trip to Australia. Your first grand prix is always difficult, but everything went well. We were competitive and I finished ahead of my team-mate. It was great.
Which position would you be in if you were on the Formula Renault 3.5 Series start grid this afternoon?
I couldn’t tell you because I didn’t do qualifying. I wouldn’t say I’d be on pole because that would be a bit arrogant, but I have done well at this track and I tested the Formula Renault 3.5 at Barcelona a few years ago. It would be nice to do a Formula Renault 3.5 race.
Who would your rivals be?
Magnussen and Da Costa are very quick and are doing a really good job. Then there are some new drivers like Vandoorne of Belgium, who is quick too. The championship is very open right now and there’s no one you can pick out as the real leader.
Why didn’t you drive in World Series by Renault before moving up to F1?
I came from Formula Three and Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2 weren’t as close back then. Red Bull decided to put me in GP2 Series, but I think Formula Renault 3.5 Series is a better option for drivers today. There’s more driving. It’s a great championship with budgets that are a lot more accessible. The car is also just as quick, if not quicker, than the GP2.
What are you doing this season?
I’ve got a lot of things on. I’m the third Red Bull Racing driver. I do a lot of simulator work and I’m at every grand prix. I’m also taking part in the FIA WEC and the 24 Heures du Mans.
Official Renault Sport Press Release.