Paul di Resta has acknowledged that he needs to work his way back into the Formula 1 spotlight after a tough end to 2012.
As Force India teammate Nico Hulkenberg starred with performances such as leading the race in Brazil, di Resta's season tailed off following his fourth place in Singapore.
Despite having been at the forefront of early driver market speculation, he was unable to secure a top drive and remains at Force India this year.
Asked in an exclusive interview with AUTOSPORT whether he felt he could get himself in such a position in 2013, di Resta replied: "Certainly hope so. I will be ready to smash out the beginning of the year. I am absolutely up for the fight. More eager than ever."
He admitted Hulkenberg, now at Sauber, would be a key target.
"It will be quite nice to race Nico without having team orders," said di Resta. "He will be the main competitor for us – Sauber and Williams.
"The team are well focused and happy after that difficult bit of the year. My team around me also went through the emotions of it. They were equally as frustrated as I was with it."
Di Resta said the winter break had helped him get over his late-2012 troubles, especially given that on-track progress had been elusive.
"I've forgotten about it," he said. "It was right to have a month off, as much as I would have wanted to be in the car the next week and getting over it, maybe it wasn't the right thing, because nothing seemed to be changing. You could show good signs and nothing came together."
Although there were spells in 2012 when di Resta was a regular top-10 runner, his season did not feature any headline moments such as the podium finishes that helped bring Sauber's Sergio Perez to McLaren.
"We've missed the flukey results and the podiums, but I think as a team we wanted consistency far more," di Resta said. "To do what they have done is score a podium one weekend and then have a ninth place. It automatically cancels it out and you start again. You want to be able to build on that."