Davide Valsecchi can officially be scratched from any list of outsiders for the remaining F1 2013 vacancies, having been listed by Lotus as its official reserve.
The reigning GP2 Series champion had, naturally, set his sights on graduating to the top flight via a fully-fledged race seat, but recently admitted that his best chance of securing an F1 foothold lay with Lotus and playing a back-up role to the established pairing of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean [ see separate story
Valsecchi was confirmed among a typically deep back-up squad as Lotus unveiled its new E21 to the public, but was the nominated 'number three' ahead of Nicolas Prost and the team's Monza 2012 stand-in Jerome d'Ambrosio having impressed in the end-of-season 'young driver' test at Yas Marina last November.
“I'm really happy, of course, that the team want me to be with them, and I'm excited about the future,” the 26-year old admitted, “I hope that this is a really good start to a career in F1.
“What is important for me is to show that I'm the driver to bet on, and that you can count on me. I want to be consistent, so that every time I'm involved with something I am professional, every time I drive I'm extremely fast, and every time I race, I want to fight for something important and without making any mistakes.”
Racing in 2013 is unlikely, despite the precedent set by d'Ambrosio's appearance in place of the suspended Grosjean last September, but Valsecchi says he is determined to show that he is worthy of consideration in future, having fallen short of raising the sponsorship demanded by those teams still looking for drivers.
“Every day I will do the very best job that I can to give Lotus the same passion and commitment that I showed last year,” he said, reflecting on his successful 2012 campaign, “My last year in GP2 was something I really focused on and, in the end, I succeeded. Now, in F1, my target will be a little different, but my focus to do the very best is still the same.
“I very much hope, step by step, to get into F1 as a race driver and being here as third driver is as near as you can get. It's a great opportunity - if I do the best job I can this year, then it will open up my chances for the future and then we'll see if I'm good enough.”
With only limited F1 testing experience under his belt, Valsecchi will be hoping that he is afforded the chance to run in both pre-season testing and some Friday practice sessions during 2013.