Toro Rosso rookie Pierre Gasly says his path in motorsport and subsequent graduation to F1 prove you don't always need a boatload of dollars to reach the summit.
As a member of Red Bull's junior driver programme, the 21-year-old Frenchman and 2016 GP2 champion had been patiently waiting in the wings for his F1 calling.
Circumstances put him in a seat at Toro Rosso from the Malaysian GP last year before he was offered a full season with the Faenza-based outfit alongside fellow rookie Brendon Hartley.
Assessing his achievement, Gasly underlines the fact that while financial support is necessary, hard work and talent can sometimes have the last word.
"In the end, we all know it's not always about performance," Gasly told Motorsport.com.
"You need to have strong back-up. I didn't have any manager, so I was in a way alone, fighting against all the big sharks in this paddock and trying to make my place.
"And I'm really happy I managed to do it without any manager and without paying for my seat.
"Because now it's pretty tough to make it, it is also good for the young drivers [to see] it is still possible, you can make it. It is not all about money. It is possible to do it without."
Gasly won't deny there have been trying times in the past few years, but he kept his head down, performed according to expectations and never lost faith in his ability to race in F1, even when he felt his time was overdue.
"In a way it made me much stronger mentally than I was in the past," he said.
"For me, there are no bad experiences. You always learn something from it, if it's good or bad, there are always things to take with you.
"It's been a long trip, but with a lot of good experiences. And useful for me."