Formula 1 attracts so much attention, one can sometimes forget there is motorsport life away from the Grand Prix circus. Sébastien Buemi is living proof of that.
A Formula 1 driver for Scuderia Toro Rosso from 2009 to 2011, the 33 year old from Switzerland has gone on to carve out an incredibly successful career. He's a two time World Endurance Racing champion with Toyota, with whom he has also won the Le Mans 24 Hours three times and he is the most successful driver in Formula E, with one championship title and the most race wins and pole positions. If that's not enough, he also finds time to work as Red Bull Racing's development driver, spending hours in their F1 simulator.
Automobilist had the chance to catch up with Sébastien to discuss his past, career and future plans.
Sébastien Buemi back in 2017 at the Formula E race in Paris. Image courtesy Hoch zwei
EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW
Automobilist: You are one of the few Swiss drivers to make it to Formula 1 and since it is illegal to hold motor races in Switzerland did that make it difficult for you to get into motor racing?
Sébastien Buemi: If you want to compete at the top, you have to compete with the very best, and in Go-karting, that is Italy. It was very clear to me from very early on that I had to get out of Switzerland to fight and that I was very lucky to have Redbull.
Sébastien Buemi driving for team Toro Rosso at the Formula 1 training in 2009 in spain. Image courtesy Hoch zwei
Automobilist: When your time at Toro Rosso ended what was the general feeling? Were you aware of all the other options?
Sébastien Buemi: As you can imagine, it was not a fun phone call, but fortunately I had good contact with Toyota since 2009, but I stayed at Toro Rosso, so when the call came, I was very happy to directly drive for Toyota's return to Le Mans.
Sébastien Buemi and Toyota team mates at the 24 Hours of Le Man in 2020 . Image courtesy Hoch zwei
Automobilist: What do you call yourself at Redbull? Are you the test driver, the reserve driver, the simulator driver etc?
Sébastien Buemi: I don't know what they really call it, but I say it's car development. I do the simulator every Friday before every race, as well as the Pierelli test and developing the 2022 car, where we try to asses which direction to go before building the car.
Sébastien Buemi with Redbull driver Max Verstappen at the 2020 Grand Prix in Bahrain. Image courtesy Hoch zwei
Automobilist: What would you consider as your career highlights?
Sébastien Buemi: Racing in my first Formula 1 race, scoring points on my debut, and also winning the Formula E championship. It's hard to rate them, but the Le Mans win was something more special because we had tried so hard for so long and had gotten so close in 2016 to finally making it in 2018.
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