Pastor Maldonado reckons the Williams-Renault FW34 with which he set the fastest time of the third day's testing at Barcelona has improved significantly since he last drove it at Jerez.
The Venezuelan, whose lap of 1m22.391s was the quickest time recorded by a 2012 car at the Catalan circuit, said the Williams appears to be a genuinely competitive improvement over its predecessor.
"The car has improved a lot and it's getting better and better every day," said Maldonado. "Especially since we didn't have any issues with the car so we have always done more than 100 laps every day – which is pretty positive for the factory to have many laps to analyze and see the data.
"I'm pretty happy. The car looks competitive and much better than last year's car for sure. Everything is working; the engine, the gearbox, the aero and even mechanically so...it is not a perfect car, it's still early and we have a lot of things to improve, but the car is quick. We need to still do analysis and develop the car a little more, but this is a good point to start with."
Maldonado added that new parts are being brought to Barcelona for the final test which he hopes will resolve the slow corner issues identified by both Bruno Senna and Valtteri Bottas.
"We have a good improvement in the aero department so I hope so," said Maldonado. "Hopefully it will improve on all the corners of the track, even the fast ones. We will see, I'm pretty confident."
He added: "I am happy because each time we make a change I can feel it, which is so positive. I have a great feeling with the car, even with the engineer just to explain what it was doing at the moment. Even with high fuel, low fuel, long runs, it all seems clear."