Mercedes director Toto Wolff insists Ferrari can still not be written off this season, despite their failure to really challenge his team’s dominance of the sport so far this year.
After a disappointing 2015, Ferrari were expected to bounce back this year and compete with Mercedes better on an race-by-race basis.
However, the Scuderia have failed to get going in 2016 with both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen struggling with reliability issues.
Red Bull have shown more promise through Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen but Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have dominated the podium places this year.
Mercedes have failed to win just one race and that was because Hamilton and Rosberg crashed into each other in Barcelona.
Ferrari have yet to win in 2016 and team principal Maurizio Arrivabene is under immense pressure, but Wolff believes their fortunes will turn around again soon.
He told the official F1 website: “I don’t think you can write Ferrari off. They’ve clearly had a tough time recently – I think they switched off very early for 2017.
Never underestimate a team with so much resources and so much passion.
“Looking at our competitors: the expectations for Ferrari are always very high – and living up to those expectations is a different matte.
And probably after a strong 2015 season we see a setback for Ferrari this year.
But I do believe that they are improving. “And Red Bull clearly have a more competitive package as Renault has improved a lot – and next year the new regulations clearly give huge opportunities. So let’s see.”