Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff and early championship leader Nico Rosberg both remain certain Ferrari have a car capable to challenging for race wins despite establishing a comfortable advantage over their main rivals in the opening three rounds.
Rosberg has romped to three relatively comfortable wins from three race so far, forming a 36 point advantage over team-mate Lewis Hamilton, while Ferrari has shown flashes of pace but endured compromised races, with technical issues for both Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel in Australia and Bahrain, as well as a clash between the two former champions in China, leaving them well adrift already.
Despite this, it is those flashes of pace that has caught Wolff's eye, the Austrian saying he has little doubt Ferrari has a car capable of defeating Mercedes should it enjoy a clean weekend.
They are definitely a threat. They came a little bit conservative on the engine this weekend than in Bahrain and it's just a matter of time. They tripped over each other at the start which heavily compromised their race, Vettel's car was damaged twice in the race. If you consider where they were at the end of lap one and they ended second and fifth this must be a satisfying result for them. They are very much a competitor [to us].
It is a view shared by Rosberg himself, who feels Ferrari hasn't shown the full potential of its SF16-T, even if he feels Mercedes is still the stronger package.
“It's great to see that we're still the quickest car out there as well. Ferrari really hasn't shown what they can do at all yet. They've had so many mishaps all the time and we really think that they're very close to us so we need to keep our heads down and keep pushing because on Friday – even in qualifying, Kimi messed up otherwise he would've been on it, close to us so we - we need to keep going.”