Nico Rosberg says talk that he can be 2014 Formula 1 world champion is far too premature - although he reckons the Australian Grand Prix will show if he has a chance.
The form of Rosberg's Mercedes team in winter testing has made it title favourite ahead of the Melbourne season opener.
But with a great deal of uncertainty about the impact of the 2014 regulations, Rosberg reckons that he would be getting ahead of himself if he started thinking a championship challenge was definitely on.
When asked by AUTOSPORT whether he sensed he was knuckling down for a title fight, Rosberg said: "It doesn't make sense to even speak about that word at the moment because in four days we will know, and you will know, if we have a chance this year."
While eager to stay realistic about his prospects longer term, Rosberg says he is excited about seeing what Mercedes can produce in Australia.
"I am feeling very confident," he said. "It was good testing, I am feeling very optimistic and just looking forward to it.
"The adrenaline is starting to go and it is going to be an exciting weekend."
WORKING ON 'EVERY DETAIL'
Rosberg says he is leaving no stone unturned in his work with the team to ensure that he has all the tools at his disposal to beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
The German has already taken on board the majority of the 2014 simulator work in Brackley - and was back in the factory at the weekend before flying out to Australia.
"I am absolutely flat out trying to get every detail sorted," he said.
"I was in the simulator again this weekend, working with the team and going through what we have learned in testing, so we are coming here well prepared and with a set-up that is optimising the car with all we have learned."
Rosberg is also mindful that the threat from reigning champion Red Bull remains, despite its troubled winter.
When asked for his reaction to comments from Red Bull team boss Christian Horner that Mercedes could win by a few laps in Australia, Rosberg said: "Never take them 100 per cent by their word just before the first race.
"We need to be very careful because Red Bull want to play things down."
Regular videos from Melbourne and pre-Australian Grand Prix analysis on The Racer's Edge with F1 Racing and AUTOSPORT throughout the Formula 1 2014 build-up week
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