Nico Rosberg says he feels the new Williams FW31 will allow him to battle for the podium during the 2009 Formula One season, although he admits that the team still has work to do with its new machine.

The Toyota-powered squad has shown some solid pace with the car during the winter, with both Rosberg and team-mate Kazuki Nakajima posting encouraging lap-times during the recent group tests in Spain.

The performances have raised confidence for the Grove-based outfit heading into the season-opener in Melbourne next weekend although Rosberg admits there is still plenty of work to be done with the car to realise its full potential.

"Winter testing has been good, but I think we are not where we want to be just yet," he said. "However, the potential for development is huge because of the new rules, so we will be looking to making strong progress throughout the year to get closer to the podium.

"I'm really looking forward to getting out onto the Albert Park track. I had a great race in Melbourne in 2008 and I am determined that we will have a similarly strong start to this season. In character, it's a very challenging semi-street circuit which usually suits our car well."

Team-mate Nakajima agreed that the team had produced a good car for the new season and said he was excited to see exactly how well the team will perform on track during 2009.

"We have a good car, one that will allow us to compete, that's certain," he said, "but where it will take us this year - well, that is part of the excitement to see how it all turns out."



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