Pedro de la Rosa insists his move to HRT is not a step backwards and is confident they will improve.
The Spanish veteran decided to swap his reserve and test seat at McLaren for a drive at HRT for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
With HRT struggling at the backed of the grid, pundits have questioned the wisdom behind his move.
When asked by Spain's COPE radio station if he thought he had taken a step back, he replied: "Not at all. We have to put those things aside and start working, which is what I've always like.
"It is a Spanish project and means a lot to me. It's an honest project. Right now we are last, but we are planning for the next two years. Then we will see."
He added: "I could have stayed at McLaren, but I really wanted to do this. It's harder, but also more interesting. It's like David versus Goliath, but it is a reason to be proud to fight against teams which are stronger, with a bigger budget and have been building F1 cars for 50 years. "
De la Rosa knows as well as anyone that HRT have a long way to go, but he is upbeat that they will improve over the next few years.
"We will start from scratch. We have to start modestly, knowing where we stand, being ambitious to grow and to improve. The important thing is to make progress. There will be no revolution in Australia, but we are going to improve step by step," he said.
"You cannot fool yourself or your followers to think that in three or four days we will win three or four seconds per lap. That takes time, and takes re-restructuring and getting stronger as a team," he added.