Max Verstappen hopes Red Bull Racing have closed the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari in the race for the F1 championship.
The team from Tilbrook have switched from Renault to Honda power over the winter, and were the seventh fastest team during testing in Barcelona last month.
The lack of pace in the two tests though have not flustered Verstappen, who won two races last season.
Verstappen said: “If we look at our longer runs from testing, our performance seems pretty promising and we hope to be competitive from the beginning of the year.
“Overall, I think we have a pretty good package, but we won’t know where we are until we get into the race weekend and see if we have closed the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari.
“Even though the season starts earlier this year, it still felt like a long winter. Melbourne is an interesting weekend as it’s the first race of the season and nobody really knows where they stand, especially with the regulation changes and us with our new power unit.”
Pierre Gasly, who joined the team this season from Toro Rosso added: “It’s only my second full season and there are a lot of things to learn this year, which makes it even more challenging.”