Lewis Hamilton has warned that there are no guarantees McLaren-Mercedes will be battling at the front in F1 2010, despite the way the Woking-based outfit bounced back in 2009, winning two races in the second half of the season.
Hamilton endured a nightmare start in '09 and it wasn't until after the British Grand Prix in July that the MP4-24 was competitive enough to take the fight to the likes of then Brawn Grand Prix duo Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello and Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
Speaking in the countdown to the start of the 2010 F1 season, and the first test with the new MP4-25 at Valencia in early February, Hamilton added that he will be doing everything in his power to ensure McLaren-Mercedes are on the pace from the off in Bahrain.
"I'm excited and can't wait to see our new car and test it," he told McLaren's official website. "Hopefully, it's going to be great for our team this year.
"I'll be working closely with my engineers and the team to make sure we all hit the ground running with the new car.
"You can never take competitiveness for granted in F1 – we saw that last year – so our common goal has to be to make MP4-25 a winning proposition as quickly as possible. Only once we've achieved that can we start looking at winning races and then, eventually, the world championship."
Hamilton will team up 2009 F1 World champion Jenson Button in 2010 and he is looking forward to getting to know his fellow countryman.
"Not yet," Hamilton replied, when asked if he has had the chance to speak to Button. "Our paths haven't really crossed since he was announced at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes back in November.
"We've both been to MTC for our seat fittings – but they were on different days. The first time we'll start working together is later this month, when we'll both be at Woking together, then we'll have the launch and the first test.
"We'll be sharing the pre-season testing equally, and it will be important to keep a crossover of information between us to make sure we are both pulling in the right direction.
"I've been mainly training and trying to keep fit (since the last race in Abu Dhabi). At the end of the 2009 season, I promised myself that I would aim to be 100 per cent fit and focused on the new year, so I've been working really hard," he summed-up.