Lewis Hamilton has conceded that the task he faces after agreeing to join Mercedes next season may be bigger than he anticipated, but insists that that only motivates him more.
The Briton's decision to leave McLaren
at the end of 2012 raised a few eyebrows given Mercedes' single race win since returning to F1 as a works entity, and the Three Pointed Star's declining record since the announcement of his move was made has led to inevitable questions about whether he now has regrets. Hamilton, however, insists that he is fully committed to his new employer.
"It makes me even more driven to help them score points," he told reporters at Yas Marina in the build-up to this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, "I'm very happy with the decision I made. [Mercedes' performance] doesn't impact on that. People do sometimes lose their way, even we have struggled in the past, and not scored points. I already knew how big [the task] was going to be - I really thought about it hard, and I could see how big it was - and perhaps it's growing, but I'm really excited about it, excited to meet new people and to being in a different environment."
With Mercedes sitting just 20 points ahead of Sauber in the 2012 constructors' standings, the Brackley-based team will continue to introduce developments for both its current and 2013 cars, and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher insists that he isn't about to give up on the team, despite being replaced by Hamilton next year.
"I do my job and try to support the team, getting things ready for next year as much as possible, but it's kind of a long job," the German confirmed.
Mercedes has not scored a point since the Singapore Grand Prix, when Nico Rosberg
claimed fifth place, and Schumacher's last top ten finish came one round before that, in Italy, allowing both Sauber and Force India
to narrow the gap to fifth overall. Hamilton, meanwhile, has seen his hopes of a second world title diminish after Red Bull
returned to race-winning form, and currently sits fifth in the drivers' standings after finishes of fifth, tenth and fourth in the past three races. His last win came in Italy, while a potential success in Singapore went begging, allowing Sebastian Vettel
to start a four-race winning streak.