Ross Brawn says he is convinced Michael Schumacher could win a race this season if the Ferrari is competitive enough.
The seven-time world champion is set to return to racing action at the European Grand Prix later this month, when he will replace the injured Felipe Massa for at least that race.
Schumacher has not driven this year's F60 car and he hasn't raced at the Valencia street circuit before.
But Brawn, who masterminded Schumacher's titles at Ferrari before the German retired, is sure the former champion will be competitive.
"I'm convinced he will be [strong]," Brawn told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I still remember the great race he did in Brazil in 2006.
"Of course it's obvious that he has to familiarise himself with the car, but I'm sure that if he doesn't win one of the remaining races of the season it will not be his fault, but because Ferrari is not in a winning position."
He added: "For him, after Massa's terrible accident, it was natural to say yes given the state of need of his old team. In my opinion there is also another aspect to consider: the fact that this is for a limited time.
"I mean, Michael returns with his usual determination and seriousness, but above all with the intention of having fun. Personally, I admit I'm excited and can't wait to see him at work."
Brawn reckons the slick tyres should be the biggest unknown for Schumacher, but the team boss believes not even that will pose a big problem for the German driver.
"Formula 1 has not changed much in terms of driving," Brawn said. "The biggest thing Michael will face is the slick tyres. But this is not a disadvantage because these tyres make the behaviour of the car more predictable.
"It's true he doesn't know Valencia, but the simulator will have helped him."