Sauber's Perez in bullish mood

Sergio Perez is backing Sauber to claim a race victory this season, confident they will build on last year's success.

Sauber had a stellar 2012 Championship with four podium finishes in what was their best season since Peter Sauber bought his team back from BMW.

Two of those were runner-up results with Perez losing out to Fernando Alonso in Malaysia and later coming second to Lewis Hamilton in Italy.

His results earned the Mexican driver a race-seat with McLaren for this year's Championship.

And although Perez has moved on, the 22-year-old is backing his former team to taste success in 2013, confident the ingredients are in place for Sauber to win.

"Sauber will be strong again, I am firmly convinced," the 22-year-old told Speed Week magazine.

"The rules are fairly stable, the Swiss team has understood its car well, so why should they be worse than 2012?

"I even think there could be World Championship events they are capable of winning.

"Sauber has done a lot for me, so I would be happy for the team to do well more than any other team - with the exception of McLaren of course!"

Sauber will have an all-new line-up for this season with Nico Hulkenberg teaming up with rookie racer Esteban Gutierrez.