Nico Hulkenberg believes that Williams could surprise the "big four" teams this year after its promising performances in winter testing. The German has not ruled out Williams, which has not won a race since the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix, taking the fight to Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes if the pace of development is strong.
"In Barcelona we were either equal or slightly ahead of Mercedes, but obviously they get their update package here," said Hulkenberg. "If we keep developing, keep pushing hard and making right decisions, we have a chance to maybe disturb the top teams."
The German added that his target for the Bahrain Grand Prix was "to qualify in the top 10 and then to score points in the race," but insists that he is unconcerned by the prospect of being the best of this year's five newcomers.
"I'm not worried about it. In Formula BMW, Formula 3, you win rookie championships but it's bullshit," he said. "Yes, you are the best of the new guys, but I don't want to be the best of the new guys. I ultimately want to be the best of everyone so that doesn't mean a lot to me.
"It's great to finally get in the car tomorrow, and get the real job on the track started. That's what I'm really looking forward to. The excitement will be there on Sunday. It'll be my first F1 race and my heartbeat will go up a bit."
The 22-year-old also said that having 11-time grand prix winner Rubens Barrichello as his teammate is a major boost, as it gives a clear marker for the pace of the car.
"He is a benchmark," said Hulkenberg. "We know what Rubens is able to do, as in the second half of last season he was quicker than the World Champion [Jenson Button] on many occasions.
"Whatever he does is what the car is able to do. That's why he's such a good orientation point for me."