Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali is sure Michael Schumacher will be fighting for this year's championship with the Mercedes GP squad.
The German driver is making a return to grand prix racing with Mercedes, having quit the sport at the end of the 2006 season. Although Schumacher, 41, has not raced F1 machinery for over three years, Domenicali has no doubts that the seven-time champion will be as strong as ever.
"Michael is ready to fight for the title," Domenicali told Spain's Onda Cero radio. "He is a great champion and a great driver, and if he has chosen to come back it's because he knows he will have a competitive car, and he too will be, surely.
"We can't forget we wanted him to be Felipe Massa's replacement last season. He will be one of our rivals, just like Mercedes, and Rosberg, McLaren, with two great drivers, and Red Bull. The title will be fought between ourselves and another three teams."
Domenicali, whose team is hoping to return to championship-winning ways this year with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, said he is confident about the Italian outfit's future. He believes Ferrari must work calmly since the start of the season, even if the car is not as strong as expected.
"We have worked hard during the past months and we will have to keep doing it during the season, which will be long, with 19 races. We need to avoid getting anxious from the first race if things don't work well from the start.
"If we start with calm and rationality, and to Ferrari's competitiveness we add Fernando's strength, we have a good mix to look to the future with confidence."