James Calado insists that taking on the extra load of a reserve driver role with the Sahara Force India team can only help in his push towards the 2013 GP2 Series title.
Vijay Mallya confirmed that his team had signed the Briton in the run-up to this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza, with Calado slated for take part in Friday morning's free practice session before leaping straight into his ART GP2 car for the corresponding session in that series.
“We worked with him during the Silverstone test and he impressed everyone with his speed and consistency,” Mallya commented, “We've always tried to support young drivers and this is a great opportunity for James to gain some valuable experience of driving during F1 race events.”
Calado admits that his dream scenario would be to land an F1 ride next year – and the Force India line-up is far from settled – but concedes that he cannot allow himself to be distracted from the job at hand.
"I'm going to be extremely busy, especially this weekend, but, at the end of the day, I only see it as a positive,” the 24-year old told Sky Sports F1
, “These days, you need as much time in any car as possible and I think, if you're good enough, you're able to adapt quick enough.
"You've just got to realise that the F1 [car] is a good ten seconds faster and reset your mind going back to the GP2 - and then almost visualise what a lap in GP2 is like. I'm sure that, within two or three laps, it'll be no problem and I'll be straight back on the pace again.
"Obviously, my work load is a lot higher now than it has been since the start of the season. It's not just practice sessions and things like that: there's a lot of simulator work; a lot of stuff with the team, doing pretty much everything the race drivers do.
"It's going to be hard, but I'm ready for the challenge - mentally and physically. It's my only chance, probably, to show what I can do and hopefully be in line for a race seat in 2014.
"Obviously, I would love to be a race driver in F1, that is the ultimate ambition and I'll work as hard as I can to get to that point, but it's hard. I think I've just got to concentrate on this year, do a really, really good job and see what happens."