The 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 champion secured his seat at the Woking-based outfit last November and since then; he has been busy preparing for his rookie season.
Eric Boullier, racing director at the team, recently said he has been “impressed” with the 22-year-old’s progress over the pre-season after putting in several mature and strong performances during winter testing.
He can’t wait to take to the Albert Park Circuit on Friday but is not underestimating the challenges that lie ahead. “Yeah, definitely,” he said when asked if he has to pinch himself to believe he is now an F1 driver. “It is a dream come true and every day is fantastic at the moment – I’m sure it will keep staying like that. I’m just really excited to be here.
“It’s been a long winter, since signing. I’ve been looking forward to this weekend but yeah, feeling good. It’s been a good winter in terms of preparation with the team. They’ve done a really good job in terms of preparing me for this.
“It’s not easy. It’s a big job, a big challenge but I think I’m pretty much as ready as you can be these days. I’ve done a lot of work over the winter but I’m not underestimating the challenge that I’m facing. It’s a big challenge but I’m looking forward to it.”
He feels the team is in a good position despite a difficult final Bahrain test in comparison to the other Mercedes-powered teams: “I think the whole testing we pretty much ran the launch car and were behind a little bit on development – but the car feels good. If you didn’t know the lap times of the other guys you would think that it’s pretty fast – and that’s a good sign.
“If we can just put some downforce on the car and keep developing as we did over the winter with the car, I think we can be in a good position. The team obviously come off a difficult season and they are massively motivated to come back to where they belong and that’s a good feeling.”
Image courtesy of McLaren Mercedes