Nico Rosberg is optimistic that he will be able to hold his own against Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher this season and says that he is looking forward to proving himself against the seven-times world champion.
Rosberg, who left Williams at the end of last year to join the championship-winning former Brawn outfit, ended the final pre-season Barcelona test with a faster time than Schumacher.
Nevertheless his preparations have been overshadowed by the return of Formula 1's most successful driver.
Speaking in a Thursday press briefing attended by AUTOSPORT in Bahrain, however, Rosberg indicated that he remained unperturbed by Schumacher's return and is relishing the challenge of racing against the 41-year-old.
"I'm going into the season very optimistically," said Rosberg. "I feel very, very comfortable in the car, very confident.
"But at the same time I know it's going to be as difficult as ever, because obviously I have a rather strong team-mate. So we'll have to wait and see.
"My motivation is to work with Michael and try to help the team have a strong car, because without a strong car we won't be able to do anything. And I think until now we've done quite well, but we need to keep pushing," he added. "And as the season goes on it's important that we get some very strong results.
"Your closest comparison is your team-mate, so my aim this year is too look good compared to my team-mate, of course."
Rosberg added that he was looking forward to racing a car which he believes will put him in a position to fight at the front.
"For sure I have a lot to gain this year, because it's the first time I have a very competitive car, hopefully," he said. "We are not sure yet, but hopefully we'll have a very competitive car.
"And so I look forward to it, to get some really strong results this year, to be on a level playing field with Michael and things like that."