Force India driver Adrian Sutil believes that this season is critical for his future as a Formula One driver.
The 26-year-old, who raced for the team last year and in their Spyker guise in 2007, says that he needs to prove his ability in a more competitive car this season or risk being pigeon-holed as a back-of-the-grid driver.
"This is one of my most important seasons," Sutil told autosport.com. "I really see some potential. After two years driving at the back, it's really time to make a consistent impression to other people and this is only possible with a good car.
"We had our good race at Monaco last year, but it was just one race and we definitely need more of this. We want to achieve this performance through the strength of the car, not through tricky conditions."
Although Sutil is cautious about making predictions before testing the car, he is hopeful that the technical partnership with McLaren-Mercedes will allow the team to fight in the midfield.
"Right now, I don't want to say too much because I've got to drive the car," said Sutil, who is slated to take over testing from teammate Giancarlo Fisichella after two days at Jerez.
"But the goal for the season is to have some points and to be reliable - this is also one of the most important things this year. It depends on the car. If it is OK, why not run in the midfield?
"McLaren really tries to help us. We get the parts- the engine, gearbox, hydraulics and KERS, but in the end the aerodynamics are up to us. It's up to us to develop it as best we can."
As well as being upbeat about the potential of the car, Sutil believes that the overall working environment of the team has improved since last year.
"We should have a big advantage in terms of performance on track with the gearbox and engine," he said. "I'm really confident right now and the team is confident, which makes the work really good here. It's a very good atmosphere in general."