Despite entering only his second season in F1, Esteban Gutierrez feels he is ready to "become a leader" at Sauber.
Gutierrez had a mixed debut campaign largely due to Sauber's issues more than his own.
However, once the team was on track, he earned his first points of the campaign in Japan when he brought his car home in seventh place.
That, though, proved to be his only points-scoring result of the Championship prompting speculation that his days with the team could be numbered.
Sauber eventually confirmed him a second season in mid-December.
"It was quite a late call with the team confirming me as a racing driver," he said during Sunday's launch of the new C33. "Even through it was quite late, I spent some time in the factory in December before the announcement was made.
"I came in the beginning of January as well to do the seat fitting and to spend some time with the engineers. And now I'm back (in the factory) and this is something that brings me closer to what is happening inside the team, and keeps me in touch with the progress with the new car.
"This is also in order for me to understand step by step what's happening with the new rules, because there are so many things.
"Even when I ask the engineers about things which are complex they need time to explain and I need to gain experience with everything during pre-season testing."
In fact such is the 22-year-old's confidence in his growth as a driver that Gutierrez believes he could be Sauber's lead driver ahead of new team-mate Adrian Sutil.
"I want to become a leader for the team. This is my second year now as a racing driver in Formula One and a lot of new things are coming up. I think that my involvement with the team is very important, so that we can meet our targets as a team.
"As a driver I want to take the next step. 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."
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