Haas F1 Team boss Guenther Steiner is impressed with the progress of Ferrari's power unit this season, believing it's just as good as Mercedes' engine.
Haas runs customer engines supplied by Maranello and Romain Grosjean put has power to good use last weekend when he qualified an excellent sixth for the Aussie GP.
The performance confirmed Steiner's belief that Mercedes no longer enjoys the upper hand in the power department.
"With the engine, there is not just one area that is better, itís the whole package that has improved from last year," said Steiner.
"Itís now as competitive as a Mercedes engine, if not better.
"Ferrari won in Australia, but everybody is developing and trying to get better. Itís always going to be a development race.
"Theyíve made a good step, and without that help from Ferrari, we wouldnít be where we are."
While Grosjean failed to capitalise on his qualifying effort in Sunday's race, Steiner believes his team is gradually unlocking its speed.
"If youíve got speed, you can get reliability," he said.
"Itís not good not to have it in the beginning, but not to have speed would be much more difficult to fix than the reliability."
The Austrian manager cats a positive outlook but is all too aware of the momentous battle which shall be fought in the mid-field this season.
"We are cautiously optimistic. We need to still prove that our performance wasnít a one-off. Itís very tight in the midfield.
"On a good day, you could be on top, but on a bad day, you could be at the back. The other midfield teams have shown that this can happen.
"I think we surprised a little bit with our performance, especially Romain qualifying sixth with his lap, which was four-tenths faster than Massaís. Thatís pretty good."