Lewis Hamilton says he doesn't feel he is taking a gamble in leaving McLaren to move to Mercedes for the 2013 F1 season.
The Briton confirmed last Friday that he would end his 14-year relationship with McLaren to switch to its rival for the new campaign, where he will replace Michael Schumacher as Nico Rosberg's team-mate.
Although rumoured for some time, the move still came as a surprise to many given Hamilton's long-term relationship with McLaren and the fact that Mercedes has just one victory in three years since taking over the Brawn GP team.
However, in an interview with Reuters
, Hamiltons said he didn't see the move as a gamble and that he had elected to go with the deal that excited him most for the future.
"I don't (think it's a gamble)," he said. "Not really. I've had such a great career with McLaren. I signed for McLaren when I was 13 and have had such an incredible journey with them. In the end I had two offers on the table which were very similar but one was a lot more exciting. It's just a challenge.
"I could stay in the great car that I have, which I've worked really hard to help develop with the team, or go to a car that's not so well developed and help it.
"No doubt it was one of the most difficult decisions I've faced in my life up to now. But a lot of other racing drivers, a lot of greats - Prost and Senna, they've all been with several teams.”
Hamilton added that he was aware that Mercedes doesn't currently have a car that is a championship contender but said he was looking forward to the challenge of helping to move the team towards the front of the pack.
"I'm fully aware the car at the moment is not a world championship-winning car," he said. "The car that I'm in right now is a car that I've developed. Next year will be an evolution of the car that I've helped develop and that will be a championship contender.
"But we (Mercedes) will work very, very hard to have a better year next year, but it takes time. You don't just arrive and things change. I think the focus is more long-term.
"If I can go there, help them progress, if we get some wins, if we eventually win the world championship - that's going to be an incredible feeling for all of us.”