Jaime Alguersuari feels he will be much better prepared this year as he begins working on the 2010 season with Toro Rosso.
The 19-year-old Spaniard became the youngest driver to compete in a grand prix when he replaced Sebastien Bourdais from the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards last year. Alguersuari had to jump into the car without any testing and will only be making his F1 testing debut this week, having already raced in eight grands prix.
The Toro Rosso driver is sure he will be a lot better prepared for the start of this season.
"Well, definitely this year is going to be much longer than last year. At least we have time to prepare for the season," said Alguersuari during the launch of Toro Rosso's new car at Valencia. "We had a long winter because we had big training – in Austria and Spain. We had some time to prepare, and we still have time to get ready for the season.
"This does not mean it will be easier than last year, because F1 is always tough, but I do believe that things will become different, we will be more competitive and we will be ready for F1. Last year everything was so fast, and I didn't know the car, didn't know the circuits and didn't know anything, so this year should be much better for me."
The Spanish driver said his team is quite optimistic about the performance of the new car unveiled today.
"I've been working for the last weeks on the seat at Faenza," he said. "I know that the new car looks very nice from the outside. On the inside I also think it is quite good. The basis is quite similar to last year's car, but obviously it is longer and the tank is bigger. I think we will have a good year really.
"We drivers are better on the performance and technical side, but all of the team have done the best job so far during this winter. I think we are happy for the moment. We need to see how we are in the testing. We need to see who is fast and who is not, and what the expectations for us are. Then we will see how it will be during the season. Not is a bit too soon to be saying something."
Alguersuari, who was officially confirmed at Toro Rosso just recently, said he never had any doubts about his place in the team.
"I don't really know," he said when asked about the reasons for the late announcement. "After Abu Dhabi when we finished the championship, the situation was clear for me. I had to have a big training during the winter until the first race, so I was a Red Bull driver. My contract was with Red Bull, and everything was fixed.
"But I don't know, maybe personal things – I don't know what happened to make it take that long, but I was completely sure that it was going to be like this. There was no possibility for it to be in a different way, to be honest. Otherwise, it was stupid, because I was so young and I've been in Red Bull since I was 15, so it was not making sense."