Pedro de la Rosa says he is not back in Formula 1 racing just to make up the numbers, and is eager to show he can still be competitive.
De la Rosa has secured a two-year deal with the HRT team to make a full-time comeback to racing after spending last season as McLaren's reserve driver. The Spaniard last raced for the Sauber team in Canada in 2011 replacing the injured Sergio Perez. Now age 40, and having made his grand prix debut in 1999 with the Arrows team, de la Rosa says he is not thinking about life beyond his HRT deal, and insists he will push as hard as ever when he returns to racing action this year.
"At the moment, I'm not thinking about any of that," de la Rosa told AUTOSPORT about his future. "I'm 100 percent focused on competing again and to prepare physically and to be fast again. What is very clear is that I don't know how to do anything other than being a driver.
"It's obvious that if one day I wake up in the morning and I don't feel the motivation and have probably lost a few tenths, then I will probably do something else, but always inside the world of motorsport because it's my passion and it's the only thing I know how to do, we have to be realistic. But I have no idea.
"There are no secret plans. I think you have to go step by step and right now I'm focused on competing at the top level. I'm here to push. I'm not here to make up the numbers, so I'm going to give it all. And after that, we'll see."
The Spaniard is the only driver confirmed so far at HRT and he admits he wants a teammate who is ready to push to help the team forward.
"The names I've heard, I have a big respect for them. I have no problems with any of them," he said. "But I don't know the personalities behind those names. I know they are fast drivers, but that's not the only important thing, but also that he thinks about the team and how to help. That's what I want."
De la Rosa is expected to make his debut with HRT at Jerez next month when he drives last year's car in the opening test of 2012.