Lewis Hamilton says he is hungry for success during the 2012 F1 season after McLaren launched its new MP4-27.
The 2008 champion endured a difficult season in 2011, despite taking three victories, with a series of clashes on-track and the well-documented break-up of his relationship with signer Nicole Scherzinger away from the circuit.
However, the Brit now goes into the new season having enjoyed a 'change of scenery' and he said he was hungry about the year ahead as he seeks to put 2011 firmly behind him.
“The winter has been a great opportunity to recharge – I got away into the mountains, spent a lot of time hiking and running, improving my fitness and starting to prepare for the new year,” he said. “It's always great to get away from everything; change the scenery. And what's great about Formula 1 is that you start each season with the baseline completely reset – everybody starts again from zero – and that always makes me so hungry.
The Briton added that he was encouraged by what he had seen of the new MP4-27 during its development over the winter and was hopeful that it would be a car that would allow him to contend for honours.
“I've been keenly following the development of MP4-27 over the winter and I've been really encouraged by the results and the data that the engineers have been showing me,” he said. “I think we already had a very strong base to build upon: Jenson and I won six races with MP4-26 last year and I think we've been able to retain all the strengths and the reliability of that design while also incorporating lots of improvements and new ideas into the new car.
“Of course, the biggest changes for 2012 are the modifications to the exhaust regulations – that will reduce the downforce and grip that we had last year, but it just puts the emphasis on the designers to try and claw some of that back in other areas.
“I get the feeling the MP4-27 is going to feel very new and exciting when we get to drive it for the first time.”