On the move and on the up - new Sauber signing Nico Hulkenberg has underlined his status as one of the rising stars of Formula 1 over the past 12 months.
The German, who boasted a glittering record in the junior formulae before arriving at the top level with Williams in 2010, had experienced a start-stop-start F1 baptism but his stock is now gathering real momentum.
Rather uniquely, each of those 'race' years have been spent at a different midfield team: the former Williams driver having swapped Force India for rivals Sauber over the winter in the belief that the Swiss team are poised to build on the promise of 2012 and make a concerted move up the grid.
Hulkenberg himself is rather familiar to swift ascendancies, having climbed the ladder to F1 at an impressive rate of knots. Like many of his rivals, his racing career began in karting, where he claimed both the junior and senior German championships.
After becoming the most successful driver in the nation-themed A1GP series, the now 25-year-old followed in the footsteps of Lewis Hamilton by joining the ASM team in the Formula Three Euroseries.
Hulkenberg was rewarded for his consistent showings with a test for Williams F1 in December 2007 and he was subsequently offered the role of test driver.
Over the next two years, while Hulkenberg learned about F1 behind the scenes at Grove, he burnished his racing credentials by winning the F3 Euroseries at the second attempt and then the following year, also with ART, he became GP2 champion at the first time of asking, claiming five race wins.
It came as no surprise, then, that the talented youngster was awarded a race-seat by Williams, partnering the experienced Rubens Barrichello in 2010. Although many expected an immediate transition to F1, like many rookies, Hulkenberg experienced a steep learning curve and it was only really when the 2010 car came on song in the second half of the season that the 'Hulk' really came into his own.
Initial tenth-place finishes in Malaysia and Britain were followed by an impressive sixth place at the Hungarian Grand Prix before the performance that really grabbed the headlines: at the season finale in Brazil, where Hulkenberg stunned the rest of the grid by claiming his maiden pole position in drying conditions. It was also Williams' first pole since the 2005 European GP. He eventually finished the race in eighth position to take his points tally for the season to 22.
Despite that pole and finishing 14th in the drivers' standings, Hulkenberg was dumped by Williams as the Grove squad brought in the well-backed Pastor Maldonado. He sought sanctuary at Force India, albeit having had to take a step backwards by taking on a reserve driver role again.
His new team's policy did at least allow him to feature in 14 P1 sessions during the course of 2011 and with Force India opting to wave goodbye to Adrian Sutil at year's end, Hulkenberg was confirmed as Paul di Resta's partner for 2012.
Although initially outperformed by the Scot, it was Hulkenberg who ended the season as the de-facto team leader with eight top-ten finishes from June's European GP onwards. The highlights included a career-best fourth place at Spa and a long stint at the head of the field in treacherous conditions at Interlagos, although he ultimately blotted his copybook when he sent Hamilton spinning into retirement.
While his 2013 switch to Sauber has been viewed in some quarters as something of a 'sideways' move, speculation has suggested that the seat brings him closer to Ferrari through Sauber's long-time ties to the Italian marque. Even so, the Hinwil team promise much for the new season in their own right.