Timo Glock believes that Marussia's McLaren windtunnel programme can give the team a huge amount of optimism for the 2013 season.
Delays meant that the British team was unable to test its MR01 properly before the start of the season, and resulted in Glock qualifying 2.6 seconds behind Heikki Kovalainen's Caterham at the Australian Grand Prix in March.
But since signing a technical agreement with McLaren in 2011 that includes use of the Woking team's windtunnel, and revising its technical structure to include consultancy from Pat Symonds, Marussia has consistently closed the gap on its chief rival.
Glock believes that the gains made during the past season mean a promising future for John Booth's squad, which will use KERS for the first time in 2013.
"I think the windtunnel work paid off since we went to McLaren, and that looks very positive for the future," he said.
"It was a difficult year in 2012 with a very difficult start; going to Australia with no testing.
"But I think since then we've improved the car quite a lot.
"I didn't think that we would close the gap again because we were 1.5s off Caterham [on race pace] and then closed the gap very quickly over the second half of the season, which is great."
Glock said that the highlight of his year was his 12th placed finish at the Singapore Grand Prix, the best result for the team that began life as Virgin in 2010.
His former team-mate Charles Pic later equalled that finish in Brazil.
"We absolutely got it right at that race and took some risks," Glock, a three-time F1 podium finisher, said.
"Korea was also good as I could really challenge the Caterhams, and Austin was good as well because we had a very good qualifying.
"It was a shame that in the race we dropped behind the Caterhams again because the KERS factor was just too big. But that was a very strong race for myself."
Glock will be partnered by British driver Max Chilton in 2013, the GP2 graduate having signed to replace Caterham-bound Pic in early December.