Marcus Ericsson admits it was a long and restless period which preceded Sauber's decision to keep him on board for 2018.
The Swede concluded his third year with the Swiss outfit as the only driver on the grid not to score a championship point in 2017, apart from Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley who joined the fray late in the year.
Outscored by team mate Pascal Wehrlein this season and forced to deal with Ferrari junior Antonio Giovinazzi as a serious contender for his seat, Ericsson admits the uncertainty and stress surrounding his future were not easy to deal with.
"I had a few nervous weeks but of course it's nice that everything is ready now, especially with Alfa Romeo as a major sponsor and partner," he told the Swedish motoring magazine Teknikens Varld.
"It has been quite a tough career so far in Formula 1," he said.
"It has been difficult to show what I can do with cars that are always at the back of the grid.
"But now with Sauber together with Alfa Romeo, it should mean that for the first time I can be much higher on the grid," Ericsson added.
The 26-year-old will however have a tough opponent sitting on the other side of the Sauber garage next year, with F2 champion Charles Leclerc hailed by many as a veritable gem in the raw.
"Charles Leclerc is an incredibly talented driver who really dominated F2 this year and will of course be a tough opponent for me next season," Ericsson said.
"He is also Ferrari's new super junior but I'm sure we will work well together to develop the car in the best way."