Sebastien Buemi says he is feeling a lot more confident as he faces the start of his second Formula 1 season with the Toro Rosso team.
The Swiss driver made his grand prix debut last year and scored points in his debut race before enduring a difficult middle part of the season as his team struggled for pace. Now, he knows most of the circuits and the team better, Buemi reckons he will be stronger.
"To be honest, I feel a lot more confident," Buemi, whose team unveiled its 2010 car today, told AUTOSPORT. "First of all, I know almost all of the circuits – although Korea and Montreal will be new – and I feel a lot more confident because I know how a weekend goes. That was not the case in the past.
"Being with the same team, the same mechanics, the same engineers and working with the same people again is a really good point. It's difficult to know what we will be able to achieve because we don't know the performance of the other guys, but I feel quite confident."
Last year, Toro Rosso introduced its new car when the season had already began. This year, however, the STR5 is ready to start testing today. Buemi reckons the early start will help the team.
"This is positive," he added. "As we could see two years ago when Toro Rosso started the season with the old car...we need to take the points when we can get them and we need to work hard to get competitive.
"The changes on the car are still quite big with the fuel tanks, the small front tires and no wheel covers...there were a lot of things that we had to change but it's going to be important to finish the races. You can get quite a lot of points if you can finish the first few races."
The Swiss driver admitted he is hopeful Toro Rosso could be one of the surprises of the season. "I hope so. It's too early to say but we will keep working as hard as we can and I hope we will be the surprise of the season. But until we know the other new cars it's too early to say."
He added: "I feel good, I know we can do it, I know the team can do it and now we just need to arrive with a car that works well and doesn't have any technical problems and our people in the wind tunnel start to work well and we can get some new parts on it.
"The other guys will not wait for us, and if we cannot follow them we will not get points. It's a big deal and if the team works well we can do it."