Having been earmarked as the man to replace Lewis Hamilton at McLaren, Mexican hotshot Sergio Perez will be under scrutiny like never before in 2013.
Given several other rising stars were considered for the unenviable challenge of following in the footsteps of the team's box-office star, it was an immediate feather in Perez's cap that McLaren announced his arrival to partner Jenson Button, even before Mercedes had officially confirmed they had lured Hamilton away from Woking.
Martin Whitmarsh has described his new signing as a "rough diamond" but McLaren are confident they can hone the talents of the 23-year-old, who is embarking on his third F1 season.
His relative youth - Perez is only slightly older than Hamilton was when he made his F1 debut in 2007 - belies a strong level of motorsport experience and maturity out of the car. Indeed, Perez has been competing in European racing since 2005 and raced in Formula BMW, A1 GP, Formula Three and the GP2 Series prior to his big break with Sauber in 2011.
His biggest success in international motorsport, in terms of championship position, to date is his second-place finish behind future Williams driver Pastor Maldonado in the 2010 GP2 Series. In all, he won five races and claimed one pole position.
That caught the eye of renowned talent-spotter Peter Sauber who boldly decided to team him up with Kamui Kobayashi at his F1 squad, despite the Japanese himself only having one full F1 season behind him.
Perez, who brought backing from Carlos Slim's Telmex communications company, didn't take long to make his mark on his debut in Australia. Sadly for him, though, his unique one-stopping drive to seventh place went unrewarded after both Sauber cars were later disqualified for infringing technical regulations.
His first official points finish arrived four races later in Spain but misfortune struck at the next round in Monaco when Perez suffered a nasty side-on crash into the harbourside chicane barrier during qualifying. Taken to hospital, he was found to have 'escaped' with concussion and a bruised thigh but as a precaution was still stood down for the remainder of the weekend. Although he returned at the next round in Canada, he felt unwell after practice and the team drafted in Pedro de la Rosa to fill in.
Returning in Valencia, Perez finished seventh at Silverstone before further points finishes in Singapore, Japan and India secure him 15th place in the Drivers' Championship.
Year two would bring far more headlines, however, after Sauber developed a car that was both surprisingly quick and kind on its tyres. Perez brilliantly demonstrated his potential at a rain-hit Malaysian GP when, from ninth on the grid, he adroitly made his through the pack and set off in a thrilling pursuit of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
It seemed inevitable he would overhaul the Spanish star in the closing laps but a small slip coming onto the backstraight - which followed a message from his race engineer to take it easy - meant the fairytale win just eluded him.
Still, both he and Sauber went on to prove that the second place was no flash in the pan. His next points finish, in Canada, was also a podium as another one-stop strategy allowed him to surge through the field again. It was a similar story later in the year at Monza, where Perez passed both Ferraris in the closing laps to finish second to McLaren's Hamilton.
By this time speculation was rife that Ferrari, who had signed the Mexican to their young driver programme upon his arrival in F1, were poised to swoop for 2013. Yet within a couple of weeks McLaren had pounced after learning of Hamilton's defection to Mercedes.
Coincidentally or not, Perez failed to score a further point in the six races after his move was announced, with the Mexican involved in several on-track incidents. Such mistakes will not go so unnoticed under the glare of the spotlight at McLaren, thus making Perez's transition to a front-running team one of the biggest stories to follow in 2013.