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Buemi in 2016
Buemi in 2016

Sébastien Olivier Buemi (born 31 October 1988)[1] is a Swiss professional racing driver, who formerly competed for Scuderia Toro Rosso in Formula One. In F1, Buemi is currently a reserve driver for Scuderia Toro Rosso's sister team, Red Bull Racing.

Buemi has competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Toyota Gazoo Racing (formerly Toyota Racing) since 2012. He became the 2014 World Endurance Champion in the LMP1 class.[2] He won both the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans and, subsequently, the 2018-19 WEC Championship.

Buemi has raced FIA Formula E Championship with e.dams Renault since 2014. He won the Formula E Championship in 2015-16.

Career


Born in Aigle, Vaud, Buemi graduated from karting and spent 2004 and 2005 in German Formula BMW, finishing third and second in the championship respectively. He was also runner up in the 2005 FBMW World Final.

Following a single race in Spanish Formula Three in 2005, Buemi moved up to the Formula Three Euroseries for 2006, finishing 12th in the championship, ceding 11th place to Charlie Kimball on countback. He remained in the series for 2007, and finished second in the championship, behind Romain Grosjean. He has also competed in the special Masters of Formula 3 and Macau Grand Prix races.

For the 2006–07 A1 Grand Prix season, Buemi shared driving duties for A1 Team Switzerland with Neel Jani and Marcel Fässler. The team finished eighth in the championship.

Buemi was drafted in at short notice to replace the injured Michael Ammermüller at ART Grand Prix for the Monaco round of the 2007 GP2 Series season. He performed creditably on his GP2 début, qualifying fourth and finishing seventh. He joined the Arden International team for the 2008 GP2 Asia Series, and finished as runner-up with a win and four second places. He continued with the team for the main 2008 season.[3] He scored his first win in the French sprint race, starting 21st on the grid (after a technical problem in the feature race) on slick tyres on a drying track and benefitting as most rivals had to pit for slicks. He won one more race and ended the season sixth in the championship.

On 18 September 2007 he drove the Red Bull RB3 at the F1 test session in Jerez. He was third quickest on the day, behind Timo Glock (BMW) and Vitantonio Liuzzi (Scuderia Toro Rosso) but ahead of names such as Rubens Barrichello (Honda) and Nelson Piquet Jr. (Renault). On 16 January 2008 Red Bull Racing confirmed Buemi as their test and reserve driver for the 2008 season.[4] At the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix, Buemi drove the medical car as usual driver Dr Jacques Tropenat had been suffering from an ear problem.[5]

Scuderia Toro Rosso confirmed its signing of Buemi as one of its race drivers on 9 January 2009.[6] He was the first Swiss driver to take part in an F1 race since Jean-Denis Délétraz drove for Pacific at the 1995 European Grand Prix.

In his first race, the 2009 Australian Grand Prix, Buemi outqualified his teammate Sébastien Bourdais and then scored a point in the race by finishing in eighth position. He was later promoted to seventh place as a result of Lewis Hamilton being disqualified. At the Chinese Grand Prix, he scored another point, this time in the wet, finishing eighth after starting tenth. After a mid season dip in the Toro Rosso's form, Buemi rounded off a good weekend to finish 7th in the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix. He followed this with a third top ten qualification in a row and another points finish at the season finale in Abu Dhabi. Buemi finished the year sixteenth with 6 points as the best rookie.

On 9 November 2009, it was confirmed that Buemi would race for a second season with Toro Rosso.

During the first free practice session of the 2010 Chinese Grand Prix, a front suspension wishbone broke under braking on Buemi's Toro Rosso as he braked for Turn 14. The two front wheels flew off while Buemi was travelling at over 300 km/h (190 mph). One wheel went over the safety fence and landed in a spectator area, missing a camera man on its way. Buemi's car continued to travel forward, veering to the left and sliding along an Armco barrier, knocking off the front wing. Neither Buemi nor any spectators were injured as a result of the incident. Toro Rosso blamed a failure of a new front right upright for the incident.[7] Buemi completed 2010 with eight points to teammate Alguersuari's five. He was sixteenth again in the drivers' championship.

Buemi, along with his teammate from 2009 and 2010 – Jaime Alguersuari, continued to race for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2011. On 14 December 2011 it was announced that both Buemi and Alguersuari had been dropped by the team, and would be replaced by Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Éric Vergne for the 2012 season.

In January 2012 it was announced that Buemi would rejoin Red Bull Racing as a test and reserve driver for the 2012 season, as well as acting as Toro Rosso's reserve driver.[8] Buemi continued as Red Bull's test and reserve driver for the 2013[9] and 2014 seasons. Buemi was again announced as reserve driver for 2019 for Red Bull Racing.

Buemi also signed a deal to contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Toyota Motorsport GmbH, driving a Toyota TS030 Hybrid with Anthony Davidson and Hiroaki Ishiura (who later withdrew and was replaced by Stéphane Sarrazin).[10] After a strong performance, the car was running in third position in the early evening when Davidson collided with a GT Ferrari and crashed heavily.

In 2013, Buemi continued driving with Toyota for a full season and ended with third place in the drivers' championship. For the 2014 season, he drove Toyota's new car – the Toyota TS040 Hybrid. With four wins and seven podiums from the eight races, Buemi became World Endurance Drivers' Champion with teammate Anthony Davidson.[2]

Buemi is currently the most successful driver in the series' history having claimed more wins, poles, fastest laps and points than any other driver in the series.

Buemi raced in the inaugural Formula E season for e.dams alongside Frenchman Nicolas Prost.

Buemi's season did not start off easily with a retirement in Beijing having started from last on the grid and being unable to set a qualifying time at the following round in Putrajaya, he lined up 19th on the grid. Buemi drove a brilliant recovery race having started in 19th and finishing 3rd on the podium ahead of his teammate who started in 11th. At the third round of the season Buemi secured his first race victory in Punta del Este. Buemi started on pole at the following round in Buenos Aires for the first time in his career but crashed out of the race after leading. Buemi went on to win in Monaco and the first London race, both from pole position, whereas he finished second in Berlin. Buemi finished the season second in the championship, one point short of Nelson Piquet Jr.'s tally.

In season two, Buemi dominated the early stages of the championship. In the season opening round in Beijing Buemi secured pole, fastest lap and the race win. The story was looking much the same in the following round in Putrajaya before Buemi's car experienced mechanical failure while leading the race. Having made a mistake in qualifying in Punta del Este, Buemi lined up fifth on the grid, but went on to claim his third fastest lap in three races and another race victory. Next he finished second in Buenos Aires and Mexico.

After a third-place finish at Paris, Buemi scored his third win of the season at Berlin, setting up a nail bitting finale in London. With Buemi needing to finish ahead of rival Lucas Di Grassi to win the championship in the second race of the weekend, he was hit off by no other than Di Grassi himself at the first corner. Therefore, the title was to be headed to whoever could get the fastest lap bonus points in their second car. Despite the immense pressure, Buemi cruised to the fastest lap to become Formula E champion 2015-16.

Season three started exceptionally well for Buemi, as he won the first three rounds of the championship, becoming the first Formula E driver to achieve the feat of three consecutive wins. Buemi would go on to take three more wins at Monaco,[11] Paris,[12] and Berlin[13] before the final 4 races in New York City and Montreal, both double headers.

However, Buemi skipped the New York event due to his WEC commitments with Toyota and participated in the 6 Hours of Nürburgring instead, with Red Bull F1 test and reserve driver Pierre Gasly taking his place.[14] In addition, he was disqualified from two races for technical infringements. Ultimately, this loss of points led to Buemi missing out on the championship as rival Lucas Di Grassi took the title at the final race.

Buemi endured a tough start to the season, taking only one point from the opening double-header at Hong Kong, having been involved in some incidents, including with previous seasons' title rival Lucas Di Grassi. Buemi hit back with pole position at Marrakesh. He led the race throughout, until 4 laps from the end, he was passed by the Mahindra of Felix Rosenqvist. He achieved two podium finishes at the next two races, to leave him in 4th place in the standings. However, he crashed out of the following race in Punta del Este. His Renault e.dams, however, proved not to be as competitive as previous seasons, and while consistently scoring in the points, he did not achieve a race win or podium for the next 4 races. In the final ePrix of the season, a double-header at New York, Buemi qualified on pole in both rounds, with the final round being achieved in the first wet qualifying session in Formula E history. However, he would slip behind faster cars in the races to 3rd and 4th respectively. This meant he finished the season in 4th place, his lowest position in the standings since Formula E began, with 125 points. Renault e.dams finished the season 5th in the standings, the first time they had not won the Teams' Championship, with Buemi scoring 125 out of the team's 133 points.

It was announced that the DAMS would switch from Renault to Nissan from the 2018-19 season. Buemi was initially meant to partner Alexander Albon, who raced for the DAMS Formula 2 team, but he was released by DAMS to join Buemi's former team, Toro Rosso to race in F1 in 2019. Albon was replaced by Oliver Rowland, who had previously raced for DAMS in Formula 2 in 2017.

Buemi started the season with 3rd place on the grid, but slipped to 6th by the end of the race. At the next round in Marrakesh, Buemi again started 3rd on the grid, but had to avoid the spinning Techeetah of Jean-Éric Vergne and fell down the order. However, by the end of the race, he recovered to 8th place. At the next race, in Santiago, he inherited pole position when Lucas Di Grassi was disqualified for a technical infringement. However, he crashed out of lead towards the end of the race due to a brake failure. Buemi's misfortune continued, when at the next race, both him and his teammate Rowland ran out of energy a lap before the end of the race, running in 4th and 3rd respectively, after Nissan had miscalculated the number of laps remaining. This was followed by a suspension failure causing him to retire from the following round. At the next round he crashed during his superpole run and therefore qualified 6th, but he was later disqualified for a technical infringement and had to start from the pit lane. By the last lap, he had made his way up to 8th place, but while attempting to overtake Robin Frijns, Buemi ploughed into the back of him, causing Frijns to take out Di Grassi, moving Buemi up to 6th, while Di Grassi retired on the spot, and Frijns limped back home in 14th. Buemi was given a 10-second time penalty for causing the collision and was classified 8th, the position he was in before the crash.

Personal life


As of 2009 Buemi was officially resident in Bahrain, living with his family and his girlfriend Jennifer.[15] He has since moved to Monaco.[1] His cousin, Natacha Gachnang, is also a racing driver. In February 2016, Buemi became a father with the birth of his son Jules. He welcomed the birth of his second son Theo in January 2018.

In 2013, Buemi and Johnny Herbert mentored 6 contestants in a primetime ITV4 reality series, with the aim of taking players of the Gran Turismo videogames to the Dubai 24 Hour race as real drivers.[16] Other countries in Europe had heats mentored by Vitantonio Liuzzi.[17]

Racing record


Season still in progress.

(key)

(key)

(key) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

(key) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

† Driver failed to finish the race, but was classified as he had completed more than 90% of the race distance.

Season still in progress.

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

† Did not finish, but was classified as he had completed more than 90% of the race distance.

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