Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton says he is more committed than ever ahead of the new 2009 season.
The Briton admits that clinching the world championship in Brazil last year still has yet to sink in and he is now focussed solely on the season-opening Australian grand prix in Melbourne at the end of March.
“Winning the world championship in Brazil seems such a long time ago now – things move so fast in Formula One, even when you’re not at the race track,” Hamilton told the official Formula One website.
“To be honest, I don’t really think of myself as world champion yet – I think that will finally sink in when I get to Melbourne for the first race – so I don’t put any extra pressure on myself to live up to that.
“Obviously, becoming the champion does take some weight off your shoulders but I don’t really look too closely at it: I’m just spending every moment focusing on 2009, improving my fitness, working with the team and testing the car. I’m more committed than ever.”
Hamilton witnessed his boss and mentor Ron Dennis step down as team principal earlier in the year but says he does not expect that to affect the team’s championship ambitions this year.
“I’m sure that the change at the top of the team will only bring us benefits,” said Hamilton.
“It will allow Ron to take a step back and concentrate on running the whole group, and it will also allow Martin to get fully involved in the Formula One team. But I don’t think you’ll see many big changes – there’s not much that needs changing, after all.
“I know a lot of people will be watching Martin once we get to Australia, but he’s a great bloke; really professional, a good laugh and totally committed. I know he’ll do a fantastic job.”