Williams driver Bruno Senna has tipped Caterham to surprise this year but expects all the midfield teams to make a leap forward.
Last year Caterham edged towards Williams over the course of the season but its performance was still some way short by the final round in Brazil. However, Senna reckons the team will close the gap this year.
“I think the big surprise has been Caterham, who seem to have a reasonable performance,” Senna told Agencia Estado. “So it’ll be very interesting to see what will happen.”
He added: “All the teams have taken a leap forward; I think Force India, Toro Rosso and Sauber are strong,” said the Brazilian. “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 is aware that this season will be crucial for his career and he is hoping his performance will allow him to extend his one-year Williams contract in to 2013.
“All drivers, Brazilian or not, have great pressure to deliver results,” Senna 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.