Sergio Perez has backed his former Sauber team to impress during the season ahead, despite switching to McLaren for the 2013 F1 campaign.

The Mexican secured three podium finishes during the 2012 season as the Swiss team impressed with the C31 and was then picked up by McLaren as its replacement for Lewis Hamilton when he elected to move to Mercedes.

Sauber will field an all-new line-up next year in Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez and Perez said he felt the duo would have a car capable of running at the sharp end of the grid.

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"Sauber will be strong again, I am firmly convinced," he was quoted as telling Speed Week. "The rules are fairly stable, the team has understood its car well, so why should they be worse than 2012? I even think there could be races they are capable of winning.

"Sauber has done a lot for me, so I want them to do well more than any other team - with the exception of McLaren of course!"

Sauber will take the wraps off the new C32 at its Hinwil base on 2 February ahead of the first test of the year at Jerez three days later.