Elmbridge race ace Sam Bird has set his sights on landing a Formula One drive and, if the chance came tomorrow he would be ready.
The Hersham 25-year-old last week sealed a deal with team ISR to compete in the Formula Renault World Series this season, having impressed in GP2 over the past two years.
Bird, who has one GP2 race win and seven podium finishes to his name, spent five days testing with F1 outfit Mercedes AMG Petronas during the course of last year – working alongside seven-time world F1 champion Michael Schumacher.
And the former Millfield School student has insisted he is ready to make the step up when the time comes.
“This is a big year for me. I’ve proven I can win races and get regular podiums at GP2 level,” he said.
“Now it is a case of getting that race seat with a Formula One team. That is the target.
“I have been working hard to get as fit as I possibly can so that I am as F1 ready as possible if the chance comes along.”
Bird’s new deal will allow him to concentrate on his duties with Mercedes AMG Petronas on race weekends, while at the same time challenging for a title of his own with Prague-based ISR.
He will race 3.5 litre, 480bhp Renaults at tracks including Silverstone, Monaco, Spa and Catalunya, while at the same time travelling the world on the F1 circuit.
“This is a good step for me,” he added.
“In GP2 a lot of the races clash with F1, so I couldn’t do my job with Petronas as well. This is the best of both worlds.
“It is a competitive championship and because there are no clashes I can compete at every round and keep getting that race experience.
“It should be a competitive car and we hope to be challenging at the top end of the series table.
“ISR had Daniel Ricciardo – who has just joined the Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 team – last year and he finished fifth in championship. I expect to be up there.”
Bird’s campaign kicks off at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain on May 6.