Fernando Alonso says he is delighted he will share the track with Kimi Raikkonen next year, following the Finn's return to Formula 1 with Lotus.
Raikkonen, who left the sport at the end of 2009, has secured a two-year deal with Lotus Renault to return to grand prix racing in 2012. Alonso believes the Finn's comeback is good news for the sport.
"I welcome him back. He's a great driver," Alonso said during a press appearance in Madrid. "He's one of the drivers with the biggest talent on the grid, a World Champion, a wonderful person...so, it's going to be a pleasure to race alongside him.
"I'm not comparing him with anyone, but it's not the same to start a race and get to the first corner and have Kimi Raikkonen alongside you than having a young driver or a rookie. Fighting with champions like this gives you a different feeling and more security."
The Ferrari driver also conceded he was surprised that compatriot Jaime Alguersuari had lost his drive at Toro Rosso, although he admitted he did not know what the situation was at the team.
"I don't have a very strong opinion about it," he said. "I don't know how Toro Rosso worked and how happy or unhappy they were with their drivers.
"I'm probably surprised like everybody else that they have changed both drivers all of a sudden, because you usually need some consistency in a team, so replacing both is like starting from scratch and you have a tougher winter in terms of evolution and testing the car. But just like I was surprised about that, I was surprised about [Adrian] Sutil not staying and the same about other drivers.
"I understand that Toro Rosso is like Red Bull's junior team and they have a lot of young drivers and they only have two seats at Toro Rosso. So they felt the need to change their drivers and try two youngsters. But I don't know what the situation was."