Pedro de la Rosa believes that he has made the correct choice of team with which to make his Formula One comeback, eight years after his last full-time ride in the top flight.
The Spaniard had seen his F1 race career cut short after being benched by Jaguar Racing in 2002, but established himself as one of the premier test and development drivers by spending seven seasons backing up the likes of David Coulthard, Juan Montoya, Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton at McLaren, last stepping into a competitive situation when the Colombian quit for NASCAR in 2006.
Not quite in Michael Schumacher's league when it came to age, de la Rosa managed to find a way back into a race seat when Peter Sauber - now divorced from the might of BMW - was looking for an experienced hand to partner rookie Kamui Kobayashi for 2010 and, armed with valuable Santander backing, will lead the Swiss squad into battle with the new C29, which began testing in Valencia this week.
Although he admitted to being both tired and in possession of a sore neck after his first day on track, the Spaniard claimed that he had had no problem adjusting to the demands of an F1 car after having had his testing time severely restricted by both the in-season ban and McLaren's early-season problems in 2009 - and reckoned that he was joining a team with potential despite the problems endured in its final year with BMW.
"During the first few laps, I was a bit nervous thinking about how long it will take to feel right in the car but, in a surprisingly short time, everything was back to normal," the veteran confirmed, "It was just a brief ride, but it also assured me that I've made the right decision to make a comeback with this great team. The car has been well born, and it was quite easy for me to drive, which is a very good sign when you step into a car for the first time.
"How fast we are, in comparison to our competitors, the future will show, but, from what I have experienced, the car is completely new and I am very impressed by the finished details. The folks back in Hinwil have done a fantastic job. It is a full new-spec car - there have been no compromises!"
Accepting that his time spent in the sport may well have been what initially attracted the interest of Sauber and others, de la Rosa also admitted that he had no desire to continue being a test and development driver without being able to reap the rewards for himself.
"The experiences I have gathered in the past with other teams, that is my biggest asset and that makes me very thankful to McLaren and the seven years I was able to spend with them," he noted, "Now, with my decision to race again, I think I have taken the right decision to capitalise on those years.
"There was some competition from other good and experienced drivers, and there was a stage when I thought that I would have no chance, but then the interest came back and here I am! I have to say that it was very rewarding initially knowing that Peter was considering me, and I somehow knew that an experienced driver would make sense in this team, in combination with a very young and quick driver.