Adrian Sutil says he is mentally stronger having spent 2012 out of Formula One.
Sutil was dropped from Force India after 2011 but returns to the Silverstone based team for a sixth season in the sport.
"I was watching it on TV. I tried to take a step back from the sport," he told Reuters in India.
"By the middle of the season I felt so much stronger and found my, let's say, new goal in life...to be a world champion."
"I am not in Formula One to just race. I would rather stay at home. The car is very important but you have to set your mind. I am here to race against the world's best and if anyone is there not to win then it is not the right place for him."
"I had time to think about my career. We will see if I am a better driver but mentally, I would say yes. I have seen a life without Formula One and a life with it. In this professional sport you never actually have the time to learn. I wouldn't have chosen a year off but it was probably for the good. Once I was back in the car, the engineers were very impressed. It showed I didn't lose any speed but probably I gained a bit mentally."
Sutil was dropped in favour of Nico Hulkenberg ahead of the 2012 season and was subsequently charged with causing grievous bodily harm to the former chief executive of Genii Capital Eric Lux after an incident in a Chinese nightclub in April 2011.
The 30 year old German says he has no worries about returning to the country for the third round of the season next month.
"Everything happens for a reason I would say. You can't change it, it just happens in life. You have to just learn from it, you have to understand that downside is another side. It just makes you stronger. I have to go there. It's not that I don't like the country because something bad happened there. It could have happened anywhere else."
"I think it was a lesson and in a way I have learnt a lot of things from that."