Valtteri Bottas says he is sure Mercedes will allow him to take on Lewis Hamilton in 2019.
A newly-bearded Bottas, on the other hand, has come out in 2019 declaring that he is determined to chase for the world championship, after a disappointing season last year.
When asked about the dreaded 'team orders' issue, the Finn said: "I think we are very clear about it.
"Certainly at the beginning of the year we will be equal," he told Ilta Sanomat newspaper.
"If at some point there are clear point differences then it (team orders) may be possible."
It is not known to what extent Mercedes' policy will differ from that of Ferrari in 2019, with the Italian team often running clear 'number 2' drivers in the past.
"They've made certain choices in the past, but now less often," Bottas said.
"There is only one season behind Leclerc. Maybe they will allow him to grow and develop."
Bottas also commented on the plight of the team that brought him into formula one: Williams.
"Hopefully they will be able to drive and the car will work well," he said ahead of the final Barcelona test.
"It's not nice when I know the team and there's still a lot of the same people there. I wish them all the best."