Kazuki Nakajima insists that he has earned his drive with the Williams team through his performances on track rather than his links to engine supplier Toyota after confirmation that he will partner Nico Rosberg for the 2008 Formula 1 season.

The 22-year-old Japanese driver, a member of Toyota's young driver programme, will follow his father Satoru into a race seat on the back of a season that saw him take on testing duties with the Grove-based outfit alongside his commitments in GP2 - where he secured top rookie honours and finished fifth in the standings.

It led to a chance to race in the season ending Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, where he took a tenth place finish and the newest addition to the F1 field admitted that the weekend had probably been key to him securing a race seat.

"Until then nobody could see how good I can be in the race - and it was the same for me, I didn't know what I could do," he told ITV-F1.com. "And I think after the race many people found out that I could do quite a good race and it gave me confidence as well.

"I could be more confident for the race seat itself and I think it was the same for the guys in the team. You never know what is going to happen in the race and it is totally different to testing.

"I believe it [the drive] has come from my performances. Obviously we have some connections with Toyota through the engine deal, but Frank and Patrick told me that they were quite happy with the result in Brazil and the race pace was quite strong as well. I am sure they chose me because of that. I still have many areas in which to improve, but I'm sure I'm capable of doing it and I'm quite confident for next year."

Nakajima added that it was nice to dream about the possibility of becoming the first Japanese driver to win a Grand Prix, although for next season, his feet will remain firmly grounded as he seeks to build his experience in a race situation.

"It would be really nice, but I just want to concentrate on my job and focus on next year as everything is going to be new," he said. I don't want to chase results, I just want to do the best I can and see how it goes.

"It is difficult to expect something for the results because I have not many ideas of the season itself. But I just want to do the best job, get some good experience and I want to show a steady progression through the season - then I think it will be good for the future. That's the main target and the most important thing is to enjoy the season. Then I think the results will follow automatically."

 

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