Sebastien Buemi is predicting a competitive start to the 2011 season for Red Bull junior team Toro Rosso.
The STR6 impressed not only with its pace but also its innovative 'double floor' concept in recent winter testing.
When asked if the optimism has been misplaced, driver 22-year-old Buemi told Swiss paper Le Matin: "No, honestly it looks pretty competitive.
"We seem to be among the first five teams, based on the hierarchy of the winter testing.
"But since the regulations have changed significantly, the scope for development is strong at the beginning of the season, so things may have changed seriously by Australia," he warned.
The regulations have changed significantly
However, his cautious optimism about the STR6 is amid growing pressure from within the team, with promising reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo to be in action in Melbourne alongside Buemi early in Friday practice.
"Ricciardo has earned this chance," said Toro Rosso's former co-owner Gerhard Berger, according to Austria's Kleine Zeitung.
"If the two race drivers do not do enough, I hope Ricciardo gets the chance to step in for one of them," he added