Pastor Maldonado says he feels Williams has a good chance of success in the 2013 F1 season ahead of the launch of its new car next week.
The Grove-based team is set to take the covers off the FW35 in Barcelona ahead of the second test of the winter, which will make it the final 2013 machine to hit the track after the remaining ten teams all debuted new cars at Jerez.
Maldonado will hope that the new car will enable him to repeat the success he enjoyed in last year's Spanish Grand Prix and he said he was sure that the team was in good shape for the 2013 campaign.
"I think we are quite close to the [other] teams and we showed that last year. We are quite close to the top teams," the Venezuelan told Sky Sports
. "It's always difficult to predict every year - you never know what the others are doing - but if we compare what we did last year and what we are doing for the next season, we have great potential and we feel confident with the package.
"It is very important to feel confident with yourself and with the team with what you have to start the season. I know it's going to be very difficult because the competition is very tight, the driver level is very high as well, so it's going to be one more great season I hope."
Maldonado did admit however that it wouldn't be an easy season on track, with few changes to the regulations compared to twelve months ago.
"It's going to be very difficult; the changes in the car are not so big for everybody, the rules are more or less the same, but we've been working so hard and I hope to be more competitive than in the last year,” he said. “[I have] more experience as well and fingers crossed to have a great season.
"We had a couple of aero problems last year, which is not the case now. We have been pushing so hard on that side to develop the car and now we hope to have a very competitive car - even from the beginning of the season. And I feel ready, ready to do great races."
The FW35, which will also be driven by Valtteri Bottas this season, is reported to have passed its final FIA crash tests.