Marcus Ericsson says he rates new team-mate Pascal Wehrlein “highly” and expects a tough battle between the two at Sauber.
This season Ericsson will remain at Sauber for a third year running but with a new team-mate after Sauber dropped Felipe Nasr in favour of Wehrlein.
Although the German has spent just one season in the sport with Manor, he has shown his class in other series, and Ericsson acknowledges that it will be a “tough” battle.
He told the official F1 website: “I think it’s great news for me and Sauber. Pascal is a very fast and respected driver with a great CV.
“I think we can really push each other and the team forward, so I am looking forward to a great season.
“I honestly rate him highly. He’s won the DTM championship and been part of the Mercedes family for a long time, so they seem to believe a lot in him.
“Of course my aim is to beat him – what else – and I expect it to be a tough fight. But that’s exactly what I need in order to perform at my best.”
Last season Sauber finished tenth in the championship, pipping Manor by just one point. However, it was a season in which Sauber scored only two.
Ericsson is hoping that this year, with Sauber have resolved their financial issues and under new ownership, the driver can look forward to a better showing.
“I think it’s clear that if you look at the second half of last season we really made some big progress,” he explained. “And the aim is, of course, to continue that way in 2017.
“We’ve had some great people decide to join the team in the last couple of months and that also makes a difference. So all in all it feels like we’re moving in the right way. And with two young and hungry drivers in the cockpits we should be on a good run.
“I think the financial stability we now have in the team makes a big difference already. And like I said, there have been some great people joining the team lately that will make a difference. But also everyone in the team now is so motivated with this fresh start.
“Instead of focusing on surviving, everyone is now pushing 100 percent on finding performance. That surely will make a big difference.”