With the turmoil of his mid-season 2009 debut now behind him, Jaime Alguersuari feels ready to show the world his real talent.
“Last year was what it was, I could not do more,” said the young Spaniard, who was called up to replace Toro Rosso’s lacklustre Sebastien Bourdais in July of last year.
But he too struggled to match the pace of his teammate Sebastien Buemi, and until very recently it was unclear if team owner Red Bull would also oust Alguersuari.
Looking back on his initial eight grands prix, the teenager told Spain’s Diario Sport: “I was an employee of Red Bull and could say neither yes or no (to replacing Bourdais).
“For this year I have been able to train properly and develop physically as a driver and psychologically as a person, which is what I needed to do.”
El Mundo newspaper quoted him as saying: “I’m no longer a soldier thrown onto the beaches of Normandy. Now I can go onto the track and complete two grand prix distances in a day of testing, as I did at Jerez.”
Ahead of his stint in the STR5 at Barcelona on Thursday, he believes he could be the “surprise” of the forthcoming season.
He said his feeling so far at the wheel of the 2010 car, which is the first designed entirely by the Faenza based team since the Minardi takeover, is “very positive”.
“It gives me the impression that it is very competitive and reliable,” said Alguersuari, albeit acknowledging that the four teams Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes are out in front.