Nico Rosberg says his decision to commit his long-term Formula 1 future to Mercedes was heavily influenced by the technical restructure that took place at the team this summer.
The German driver announced on Thursday morning that he will remain with Mercedes until at least the end of 2013. He said that the appointments of technical director Bob Bell and technology director Geoff Willis earlier this year and the impending arrival of Ferrari's Aldo Costa as engineering director were "key reasons" behind his decision.
"I saw this summer that this team means business and is doing what it takes to become the best," he said. "Of course, I waited a little bit in the summer to see how things were going, but it's absolutely clear that [things are improving] and with [team principal] Ross [Brawn] too, he's been strongly implementing all his changes going forward.
"I know I've got to be patient, but great times lie ahead, I'm sure."
While full of confidence that Mercedes will become a front-running team over the next few years, Rosberg doubts that he will be setting the pace at the start of 2012.
"It's going to be difficult," he added. "The gap is quite large at the moment. Next year the aim has to be that we battle consistently for podiums. That's what the goal is and that would be a good step for us. We'll take it from there.
"It probably wouldn't be realistic to say that at the start of next year we'll be the best, but we'll be pushing things for sure. We're on the right track and now Geoff Willis has brought in some extra strength and everyone has been extra positive. I didn't think it was possible that he would have such a positive influence on everybody straight away. But it's going well. The whole atmosphere is very strong at the factory."