Marcus Ericsson claims that the improved form being shown by Sauber's new C34 will lift the mood within the Swiss camp after a dismal 2014 F1 campaign.

The Swede returned to the cockpit of the reliveried blue-and-yellow machine for the final day of four at Jerez, and aided by a late lap on the soft Pirelli, took home another second spot on the timesheets. With rookie team-mate Felipe Nasr having topped the times outright on day three, and Ferrari-powered cars having set the pace throughout, Ericsson believes that things are looking up for Sauber.

"I've had the feeling all winter," he said, "It feels like everyone in the team is really excited about this season, and this week has only made that feeling better and will bring more energy to the guys back home. I think we need to push on and continue to work hard and then we'll see in Melbourne where we are."

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Contrary to Nasr's assertion that his top spot was a fleeting moment of glory while the sport's big guns 'sandbag', Ericsson believes that there is more to come from both the C34 and its Ferrari powerplant.

"We've got a fair bit of margin to be honest, so that's a positive," he opined, "We've been focusing on our programme and a lot of different stuff, and we tried a lot of different tyres so, all in all, we are very happy with these four days.

"We've had a really good test and I think it's been very fortunate that, every day, we've done a lot of laps and had no real issues with the car. We can make [progress] with every lap we do around here, so that's been positive and, for me, driving on day one and day four, its been possible to see the progress we have already made from this week.

"From the car I started to drive on Sunday to the car I drove now [this] afternoon, it's quite a few steps forward so that's also been very positive. We have something to build on for the rest of pre-season.

"It is a better car this year. It is more stable in general - under braking and though the corners, it's just more stable, which gives the driver more confidence. And, also, I think Ferrari has made a decent step on the power unit compared to the one I drove in Abu Dhabi. It's difficult to compare a cold Jerez to a warm Abu Dhabi, which was the only time I drove this engine last year, so all I can say really is that it feels good, feels like it should do. Ferrari has some more stuff to bring along too, so that's really good as well."