Kevin Magnussen says he is determined to justify the faith shown by McLaren as he approaches his rookie season in the sport.
Magnussen has replaced Sergio Perez for this season and topped the timesheets at the first test at Jerez last week.
"I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given, and in a way it still hasn’t really sunk in yet," he told The Official F1 website.
"When I got into the car for the first time at Jerez last Thursday, in fact, it still felt a bit strange. But I’m a firm believer that there are no guarantees in this world, so I’m now focusing on the work I need to do to justify the privilege of being a Formula One driver."
"I certainly don’t take anything for granted - I know that all the work I did in the junior formulas was only enough to get me to the door of Formula One - and now I’m having to start all over again to prove that I deserve the opportunity to stay here. In the past few weeks, and in the next few weeks also, working closely with all the McLaren guys who’ve given me that opportunity, I’m determined to justify the faith that’s been put in me."
Magnussen drove the MP4-29 on Thursday afternoon and Friday of last week's test and was left upbeat about the initial feeling of the car.
"It feels like it’s underneath you, which is always a good start," he said. There’s not really much more I can add to that right now - we’ll only get a clearer idea of where we stand in terms of relative competitiveness once the testing continues in Bahrain later this month. Even then it’ll be hard to say anything definitive."
"So, yes, it feels nice to drive, and the power and torque delivery is extremely impressive, but our aim for the moment is just to create as reliable a package as we can and try to get some more miles under our belts. That may not sound particularly exciting, but the reality is that lap count is more important than lap time right now, so that’s our main aim at the moment."
Magnussen revealed why he chose 20 as his permanent number and reckons that numbers should be more visible on Formula 1 cars.
"20 is the number I ran when I was in karting, and it’s also the number I ran last year when I won the World Series by Renault 3.5 Championship. So it’s followed me around and brought me some success, so it seemed to make sense to carry it over into Formula One."
"I think Jenson [Button] chose 22 for the same reason - he ran that number when he won the Formula One world championship in 2009. I like the idea of permanent driver numbers, but maybe it would be nice if they could be a bit bigger and clearer, but obviously that isn’t my decision."