Esteban Gutierrez says he is ready to step up to the plate and lead the Sauber team into the 2014 season following the launch of the new C33.
The Mexican youngster remains with the Swiss outfit for a second season this year after a mixed debut season, and will be joined by former Force India man Adrian Sutil.
Having taken a best finish of seventh last year in Japan, Gutierrez will now hope to try and become a regular points scorer in 2014 with that result at Suzuka having been his only top ten result of his debut campaign.
“Last season I had a steep learning curve,” he said, “but working together with the team, I was able to make steady progress. This is my fourth year with the Swiss team, and the second as a racing driver. Last year I learnt a great deal and I feel ready for the next step.
“I want to become a leader for the team and my approach is now different to last year and I'm really in full fighting mode with a lot of power. I prepared during the off-season and also analysed and evaluated everything that happened in my rookie season, so I can take that and turn it into a powerful asset this season.
“I will do everything I can to improve further and to support the team with all the resources I have.”
Gutierrez added that he expected it to take time to get used to the new-spec F1 machine that he will debut in Spain this week, and he said he was aiming to be 'more efficient' when it comes to learning how to get the most from the car underneath him.
“To adjust to the new car this year will be special, because there is quite a dramatic change in the regulations, which will mean different strategies,” he said, “and from a driver's point of view a difference in how to drive the car. This will take a lot of time and analysis to then properly apply things the way they should be.
“I think testing is going to be very important for this because, obviously, we want to arrive at the first race fully prepared and 100 percent adapted to our package, and then develop that further in the season. This is the evolution you need to have in a season in Formula One.
“I think the greatest sporting challenge that I have this season is to adapt quickly to the new regulation changes and to the new car, which will mean a lot of new things on the strategy. As a driver you have to get involved in the strategy in a very specific way.
“In my rookie season I sometimes found myself a little bit confused at the beginning, but throughout the season I got into the rhythm and understood things. Now it's my second season and I think I can be more efficient and more involved.”