Giancarlo Fisichella says 2006 proved that he is on the right track to challenge for the title.
The Roman won a single race to champion teammate Fernando Alonso’s seven this year, moving technical director Bob Bell to comment on Monday that 2007 could be “make or break” for the 33-year-old.
But Fisichella says this year was better than last, despite also winning just one race in 2005.
“I was on the podium five times compared to three last year,” he insisted. “I scored nearly 25 per cent more points.
“That is a very strong rate of progress, and I intend to maintain it next year so I can fight for the championship.”
Fisichella said he had not settled into the role as “second best” at the French squad, which is a signal to Alonso’s replacement, Heikki Kovalainen, that he should expect a fight for the 2007 crown.
The veteran of 179 grands prix continued: “You can never settle for second best. I know there have been some critical voices but we won the constructors’ championship this year because I raised my game.
“I know I could have done better on some occasions too. Those are the things I want to work on this winter in preparation for 2007.”