Bruno Senna has said he is surprised by the performance of Caterham during pre-season testing and has predicted that the former Team Lotus outfit will be ones to watch in the midfield during the year ahead.

Senna, who will compete for rivals Williams in 2012 having replaced fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, said he felt the team was likely to close the gap to its rivals this season, but also added that the battle between the likes of Williams, Force India and Sauber within the midfield would be tight.

"I think the big surprise has been Caterham, who seem to have a reasonable performance," he was quoted as telling Agencia Estado. "So it'll be very interesting to see what will happen.

"All the teams have taken a leap forward; I think Force India, Toro Rosso and Sauber are strong. Lotus seems to be strong, Mercedes as well. Ferrari do not seem to have the performance, unless they are hiding their game. It seems like McLaren and Red Bull are a little in front of everyone."

Senna added that he was going into the season well-prepared as he seeks to secure his long-term future on the grid.

"All drivers, Brazilian or not, have great pressure to deliver results," he said. "Of course it is very important to have Brazilians in Formula One, but we always do the best we can, regardless of the duration of the contract. I think this is the beginning of my career, as with a good job this year, we can extend the contract and, god willing, keep on getting better in the future.

"Last year at this time all I could do was work on my fitness, but now I am driving the car, working with the engineers in the team and doing everything else that has made all the difference in this pre-season. I have got to this stage of the championship with a preparation probably better than last year when I finished the race in Brazil."

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