Nico Rosberg has admitted that he needs to put a tough 2008 campaign behind him and focus on turning both his fortunes and those of the Williams team around in 2009.
The German started his third year with the Grove team brightly by claiming a maiden Formula One podium in the season-opener at Albert Park, but failed to live up to that promise until returning to the top three with a career-best - and safety car influenced - second in the inaugural Singapore GP in September. Nevertheless, 13th in the championship wasn't what Rosberg had been hoping for, and he admits that he needs to keep his chin up as he heads into a fourth year with Williams.
"It was good to have a couple of highs during the season, but it was a difficult year for us as we were not quite where we wanted to be," he told the team's official website, "Nevertheless, we learnt a lot which will help us to do better in 2009.
"My high points were definitely Melbourne and Singapore for the podiums and then qualifying for Monaco, [but] my low points were probably the race in Monaco and places like Shanghai where we were off the pace. However, I've learned to keep fighting, even when times are a bit tough."
Just as it was at the end of 2007, when he was being linked to a possible move to McLaren, Rosberg's position in the Williams line-up has been at the heart of paddock speculation since the end of the season, but the youngster insists that he is not being tempted away from Grove, especially having only recently inked an extension to his deal.
"There is nothing to clarify," he claimed, "I have a contract for next year and am fully motivated to push myself and the team further up the grid. Everyone in the factory deserves better results and we'll work hard to achieve them."
The 2009 season, of course, will see the most radical overhaul of the Formula One rulebook for some time, and both Rosberg and team-mate Kazuki Nakajima have had an initial taste of the new-look machines they can expect to be driving when the season kicks off in Melbourne in late March. Stopping short of joining his colleague in describing the interim machines, with their mis-matched wings, as 'ugly', Rosberg decided instead to focus on whether the changes will improve the spectacle of F1, admitting that the new aero regulations would 'definitely not make things worse'!
"[The '09 package] is not much different really," he claimed, "I suppose one thing that is different is what happens with tyre degradation. The balance of the car has changed, so now it's more inclined to oversteer over certain runs than it used to on the groove tyres. I don't think [the switch back to slicks] is a significant change except for the fact that none of the teams have any experience of them on today's cars and we all need to learn as quickly as possible how to get the best out of them."
Having taken a sight-seeing break at the end of a tough campaign, Rosberg is now fully focused on next season, dividing his time between the test track, workshop and gym as he prepares for rigours of another development programme.
"I want to be finishing in the points on a regular basis," he insisted, "I already have a full programme in place for the winter and, as I will be spending much of my time in Austria, I'll be doing the majority of it there.
"However, it is important to spend some time at the factory, but not just with the engineers. It's also good to see all the other members of the team. There are so many people working hard on the car back at base throughout the year, but I don't get to see them as much as I'd like to during the season. Winter is a good time to have chat with them and catch up."