Lucas di Grassi says he feels Virgin Racing could spring a surprise in this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, with the chance of rain set to spice up the action at Spa.
The newcomers have struggled so far this year and sit bottom of the constructors' championship thanks to a finishing record worse than either Lotus or Hispania Racing.
However, having finished on the podium at Spa in the past during his time in GP2 – and with the team working hard to improve the VR-01 – di Grassi said there was a chance for the team to secure a surprise result when the season resumes.
“This weekend I'll be racing a Formula 1 car at Spa for the first time which is going to be an amazing experience and one that I am really well prepared for,” he said. “We've done a lot of laps in the simulator and I finished on the podium here last year in GP2, so I have a really good feeling about the place.
“We've made some big steps forward with the car recently so we are in very good shape. It will be interesting to see what the weather does throughout the weekend and there could be a great opportunity to achieve a surprise result.”
Team-mate Timo Glock is also optimistic of a good weekend for the team and agreed that changeable weather could give the chance to perform strongly.
“I'm really looking forward to racing at Spa this weekend, and I'm sure everyone else is looking forward to getting back on track too after the break,” the German said. “Spa is a fantastic circuit - a challenge both in terms of car set-up and in predicting the weather.
“It looks that it's quite likely to be wet at some stage over the weekend, which means that being on the right tyres at the right time will be crucial. This gives us a great opportunity to show how much we've developed as a team, and as always we'll be aiming to outqualify and finish ahead of the other new teams.”