Williams will give Valtteri Bottas at least half a season to get up to speed.
After a full season of preparation as the British team’s reserve driver last year, practising on most Friday mornings at grands prix, 22-year-old rookie Bottas will make his full-time race debut in 2013.
The young Finn can’t wait.
‘Well, it was mentally tough,’ Bottas told the MTV3 broadcaster, referring to 2012.
‘At the end of practice just when I had found a rhythm in the car I then had to give it back. And I knew that I would have kept improving if only I could have driven more,” he added.
‘As I then watched the race, of course I thought about what I might have been able to do. It was not so easy.
‘Especially the weekends where I could not drive at all – they were very long,’ he smiled.
The team, however, will be urging Bottas to be patient. Williams co-owner Toto Wolff, who is also involved in the young driver’s management, said the 22-year-old will enjoy some ‘puppy protection’.
‘He needs mileage and racing experience,’ he told Motorsport Aktuell, a Swiss weekly.
‘He is very fast and extremely intelligent,’ Wolff insisted, ‘but we have to give him the right environment so that he can realise his potential.
‘We can’t assume that he will be on the second row in Melbourne, even if the car is capable of it,’ he continued.
‘I believe he can get the full potential from the car by the middle of the season.’