Exclusive interview with Sébastien Buemi: “It is nice to lead the championship but the important is to win it”
12 Novembre 2014 - 18:50

Sébastien Buemi is one of the drivers of Toyota Racing, who is racing in 2014 season of World Endurance Championship. The swiss-man is now fighting to win the championship with his team-mate Anthony Davidson. Former Toro Rosso driver had an exclusive interview with MotorSport Italia where he told us about his season and some details about differences between Formula 1 and WEC. He also expressed his opinion about the new Formula E championship.

Following the pre-season tests, have you ever thought about fighting for the championship?
In pre-season, it is always very hard to judge where you stand compared to your main rivals. We know from many years how strong Audi is, and Porsche has a great history in endurance racing so we could expect they would be a threat even in their first year. For Toyota, it is our third year and our target was clearly to fight for the championship. We are here to win and that was our ambition.

How does a driver train in order to attend the 24 hours of Le Mans?
This is the biggest event of the year where everything can happen. It is difficult but if you want to get a good result, you have to go into details. This is the price to pay. So I do very intense fitness training so I am in the best possible shape, then I try to be well rested before the Le Mans week so I have maximum energy for this difficult event.

At Le Mans, during the night, how much difficult is lapping slower cars that are fighting one another?-
This is one of the special challenges at Le Mans. For sure it is not easy to find the right balance; you want to lose as little time as possible but you also want to take as little risk as possible. It is tricky sometimes, especially when they are fighting for position themselves. The blue flags help and with experience you learn the best way to get past without losing too much time.

This year you won four races. What was the most exciting win? What was the most difficult one?
Fuji was a really special victory because it was on Toyota’s home ground, and it came after our difficult races in Le Mans and Austin. It was a great feeling to leave Japan with a one-two. In the end all races are difficult because endurance racing is far from easy, and in all races there have been moments where we have had to really fight.

Now Davidson and you are leading the champioship. What are your feelings and those of your team?
We are very excited of course and we want to finish the job. It is nice to lead the championship but the important thing now is to actually win it. We are completely focused on this.

Anthony Davidson and Stephane Sarrazin raced in endurance world for more years than you. How did they help you and how much important was their support to bring you in this kind of races?
All my team-mates bring different kinds of experience and we have talked a lot about different aspects of our sport. I had a lot of questions at the beginning, so it was interesting to share a car with Antho and Stéph as they could explain some things, particularly about Le Mans, so I was a bit better prepared when we went there for the first time.

You are one of the 20 drivers who attended the first Formula E e-Prix at Beijing. What are your thoughts about this championship? Could it become important such as WEC or F1?
We’ve only had one race so far but I was impressed with how it was all organized. It’s an interesting concept and seems to have a lot of momentum. I think it has the potential to be important, certainly. Let’s see how the first season develops; I’m enjoying being a part of it.

How much difference there is between an LMP1 and a F1 in aerodynamic terms? How change the way of driving from F1 to LMP1?
An LMP1 car has a lot more downforce than an F1. When we are running in low-downforce spec at Le Mans, our car still produces more downforce than an F1 car at Monaco. This is because we have closed wheels, so the top and bottom surfaces of an LMP1 car are much bigger than an F1. But an LMP1 car is also much heavier than an F1 and has less power from the combustion engine so our lap times are a few seconds slower. So you have to adjust a little bit your driving style as the car behaves differently, but you also have to consider that the race lasts a lot longer than a Grand Prix so you want to protect the car whenever possible.

Your parents have sicilian origins (they’re from Novara di Sicilia). Have you ever visit that place?
No, I haven’t visited. I heard it’s a nice place so maybe one day I will go over and take a look.

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