“For me, this is a great day. In fact, every day this year has been great: I’ve been working hard with my new team to get everything ready for the start of the 2013 season – and it’s been an incredible journey to get to know this incredible organisation.
I’m incredibly proud to be a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver. Seeing such famous cars brought to life today, and knowing that I’m driving for the team on it’s 50th anniversary – that’s such a special feeling.
Of course, I am fully aware of the steep slope ahead of me: it has already been an intense couple of weeks, getting to grips with a new team, meeting my engineers and mechanics, learning new ways of working and, of course, learning all about a brand new car – something I’ll need to do with just six days of on-track testing. It’s a big challenge.
But it’s definitely going to be an exciting few weeks: although I’ve been racing in Formula 1 for the past two seasons, every racing car is different and it always takes a little time to adjust. Firstly, I’ll need to understand the different characteristics of the car; secondly, I’ll learn how to best work with my engineers to make the car suit my personal driving style. It’s going to be an interesting and exciting journey.
But I’m more prepared than I’ve ever been for the start of a new season. I feel extremely fit, focused and refreshed – there’s still a lot to do, but my aims are to feel confident, comfortable and ready to race by the time I land in Australia in just a few weeks’ time.”