Paul Di Resta talked with the starry-eyed wonder of a youngster who has realised his dream, after being unveiled as a Force india driver for the 2011 Formula One season in Glasgow on Wednesday. Yet it is a measure of how the 24 year-old from Bathgate has combined Scottish pragmatism with Italian flair throughout his burgeoning career that he quickly made it clear that he will never be content to make up the numbers in any realm of motor sport.
Di Resta, a past winner of the Formula 3 Euroseries - where he defeated the reigning F1 world champion, Sebastian Vettel - and the 2010 DTM title, has grown up obsessed by the minutaie of machinery and, as he told STV Sport: "If it didn't have petrol in it, I wasn't really interested."
Now that he has gained elevation, alongside Germany's Adrian Sutil, at the expense of Tonio Liuzzi, the Scot recognises that the pressure will be on his shoulders to emulate the achievements of fabled individuals such as Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart and David Coulthard. But if he feels any anxiety, he is keeping it well concealed.
"I've been working all my life towards this goal. It wsa difficult at school: people thought you were mad when you told them you wanted to be a racing driver, but I was fascinated by Formula One from when I was growing up and I'n delighted that I'm going to be competing in this year's championship," sad Di Resta, who will make his debut in Bahrain in March.
"I've not set myself any targets, I just want to enjoy the experience and be as methodical as I can be. Force India are ambitious and they are looking to finish in the top five in the constructors' championship, so that is going to be very challenging. I've been training hard all through the winter and testing starts next month [in Valencia], so that should give us some indication where we stand, in relation to the other teams on the grid.
"We're looking at gaining points on a regular basis, and pursuing podium finishes. But we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves. I was very realistic when Force India put the deal in front of me and I really believe that I benefited from being the test [and reserve] driver last season. I learned so much from being on the pit wall and being involved in all the team briefings."
Di Resta has no illusions about the task confronting him and Sutil and they prepare to vie with the likes of Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher. But this is a fellow who sets himself exalted standards.
"I've got a lot of sporting icons. People such as Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, Jackie Stewart....men who have maximised every bit of talent they possess," said Di Resta. "It is one of the best-ever grids there has been in F1, but I think I have earned the right to be in there with all the others. I wouldn't have achieved this without the help of many people, and my father [Louis] has been a rock to me, and he will be as pleased an anybody when we get to Bahrain.
"But the hard work begins here. I had to be more cautious last year, because I was in somebody else's car, but now it's about working with my engineers and the rest of the team to make us as competitive as we possibly can be."
Di Resta knows he is entering a bear pit, and the presence of Nico Hulkenberg as Force India's No 3, means taht he will be expected to produce impressive perforamnces from the outset. But he couldn't he happier at the prospect.
Ultimately, this is where he dreamed he would be 20 years ago.