Pastor Maldonado insists he is ready to make the step into F1 after taking part in both days of this week's Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi.
The GP2 title winner spent the opening day of the test running with Hispania before switching to Williams for day two – with the Venezuelan hotly tipped to secure a race seat with the Grove-based team for 2011 after the departure of Nico Hulkenberg.
Although he refused to comment on that speculation, Maldonado insisted he was hopeful of finding himself on the F1 grid next season.
“I definitely hope so, but that should be normal after the GP2 title,” he told the official F1 website when asked if he will be seen on the Formula 1 grid next year. “I am working very hard to be here. I have the results and I feel prepared to make the jump. Of course I hope to be in a good team.
“I am pretty happy because I've learned a lot over the last two days trying two different Formula One cars and two different teams. It was not the first time that I've driven a Formula One car - that was a Minardi in 2004 - but the times and the cars were pretty different then, so you could almost say that's my first time…again. It was so great to get this two-car test opportunity because your learning pace is much bigger in a much shorter time. There is a huge difference between a GP2 car and an F1 car so it is always a huge step forward. I think I did quite well.”
Maldonado will be back on track with Hispania during the Pirelli tyre test that gets underway tomorrow [Friday] and he admitted it was important to get as much time behind the wheel as possible as he works towards his future goal.
“The reason is to be able to do all four test days and to get as much mileage as possible,” he said. “The next two test days will be with the new Pirelli tyres - and that is extra important. It will be new to everybody so we are all starting from the same level.”