Formula One newcomer Nico Hulkenberg has admitted that, apart from ambitions that lie some way down the road, he is not going to set himself too many goals for his debut season with the Williams team.
The German, who graduates from the role of test driver at Grove following a title-winning maiden campaign in the GP2 Series, will partner veteran Rubens Barrichello in an all-new line-up, but insists that he is not about to put too much pressure on himself to achieve certain results.
"Obviously, I want to establish myself in F1 and stay in F1 for a very long time," he conceded to the official F1 website, "At some point, I want to be world champion but, for this year, it is difficult to make a statement of my goals. I want to do well and score a lot of points - and podiums and wins if possible - but, to be honest, it's a bit too early to set up real goals."
Despite the limited amount of testing mileage he received in 2009, the result of the ban introduced by teams in the name of cost-cutting, Hulkenberg believes that he is as well prepared to make the step up from GP2 as he could be, and is looking forward to getting in the new Williams machine for the first time today [Wednesday].
"I definitely feel fit and ready for the switch," he confirmed, "I have been driving for Williams for the last two years, even though I didn't get to do a lot of driving last year, and I am ready for it. It was my ultimate goal to get a race seat with [Williams] this season, as it feels almost like a family. I feel comfortable here, I know all the people and get along well with everybody - at the track and back home at the factory.
"As far as I was concerned, I did my job in GP2 as well as I could and tried to make the decision for Frank [Williams] and the other people who decide [on drivers] as easy as possible. We never really talked about that, not with Frank or anybody else in the team. Sure, I knew that suddenly there were a number of good drivers on the market, but nobody in the team ever gave me an indication that they were looking around. All I could do to make my switch to F1 possible was to do a good job in GP2 - and I did that. Look at Lewis Hamilton. He came into F1 and almost won the championship in his first year, so why favour experience over speed?"
Hulkenberg is also looking forward to partnering Barrichello, who he believes can teach him a lot about the art of being a grand prix driver. The Brazilian won two races in 2009 as part of the successful Brawn GP team and brings 17 years of F1 experience to Williams.
"I expect him to be a good team-mate," the young German indicated, "For me, he is not only experienced but he is still quick, as he has demonstrated last season. I am quite happy to have him in the team because, with so many new rules, it is good to have somebody with his knowledge and not another young driver. But what I don't do is see him as a kind of tutor. He is my team-mate and I want to beat him. For sure, I will take all the advantages I can take from him - I'll learn from him, but the bottom line is that I want to beat him."
Barrichello handled the driving duties on the first two days of testing in Valencia, but Hulkenberg is waiting to get behind the wheel before making an judgements on the FW32 himself.
"It is still early in the testing season and, of course, we will share our experiences once each of us has done more mileage," he admitted, "I've got information from the engineers, but that is all hearsay and I am waiting to get in the car myself. What is very positive is that the Cosworth engine seems to deliver and is looking very promising. But let's wait and see until we've done some more significant mileage."