The next installment of our team insights series sees us talk to our Test and Reserve Driver Sébastien Buemi. He talks to us about training, table tennis and explains why he’s keen to dive in the sky, but definitely not in the water…
What racing driver did you most want to be like when you were growing up?
That’s easy – Michael Schumacher, simply because he was winning most of the races. As a kid you always want to be a winner, so it was Michael.
How strange was it to later race against him?
The first few races were amazing. I had a good fight with him in Canada, where I think I finished P8. I overtook him four laps from the end because he was having bad degradation on the tyres. That was a great feeling. But as the season goes on you just concentrate on your job. He became another competitor. Initially though, it was quite special to race against someone who was a hero.
How do you relax outside of Formula One? What’s the perfect day off?
If I’ve been away for a long time, like on these back-to-back races, then I just like to spend time with friends and family. If not that, then I like doing some proper training at home, where there’s not so much pressure and no tight schedules. You have to train so much in this job that you really need to enjoy it. And the more you do, the more you enjoy it.
Is there a particular element of training you’re passionate about? A lot of drivers are keen cyclists?
Some drivers they go flat out in one direction, but me, I like to do a variety of things. You have to stimulate yourself by doing something a little bit different all the time. You have to be mentally stimulated so that you do better and always learn something new.
What would you be doing if you couldn’t work in the field you work in?
That’s very difficult. Maybe another sport. I like competition, so maybe tennis. But I don’t know. It was so clear to me from when I was four years old that this is what I want to do. I never thought about anything else. If I wasn’t doing this? Maybe I’d just be finishing university or something. I think I would have loved to do another sport because I don’t like the routine of a regular job.
What one thing, aside from what you do, are you really good at?
Table tennis. I started when I was young and went to do a course and played with a club. From the age of six to 13 I did table tennis and gymnastics, but then I changed, as you can’t do everything.
Pick three guests, from past or present, to invite to your ideal dinner party?
For sure Roger Federer, I’d invite him and then… Ayrton Senna and Steve Jobs. There are many people but that might be an interesting conversation.
Are you afraid of anything?
Sharks. When I go to Australia I’m always afraid of going in the water. I know it’s irrational and I know there won’t be anywhere we go but still I think about it.
What’s one thing you’ve never done that you would really like to do?
Skydiving. I’d like to do that, just for the adrenaline. I’m a bit scared of it, which is part of the attraction.