Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner thinks the battle between his squad and McLaren will fluctuate on a race-by-race basis this year.
After seeing Sebastian Vettel be unable to stop McLaren's Jenson Button winning the first race of the season, Horner says he does not expect that pattern of form to remain for the rest of the season.
"We saw it last year where there were swings and roundabouts - with some circuits suiting different cars and different characteristics," he explained. "We saw that swing from weekend to weekend on occasion. McLaren has always gone well here, and if you remember Lewis [Hamilton] harried Seb most of the race last year.
"So I think there are circuits that will affect performance, but I think the teams are very closely matched at this point of time. As always, though, it will be a development race between now and the end of the season. Whoever gets the most performance from the car quick enough will see a gain from that."
Horner thinks that Vettel and teammate Mark Webber did not get the maximum potential out of the RB8 over the Australian GP weekend – which means, in theory, they can do a better job against McLaren in the future.
"We knew McLaren from winter testing were competitive, and we have seen that here this weekend," he said. "But our race pace was every bit equal to them here, and neither of the drivers have been totally happy with their cars here this weekend.
"We know where we need to improve, we have plenty of things in the pipeline and so we take an awful lot of positives out of this weekend, with a podium and fourth-place finish."
Horner also believes that this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, with Sepang demanding very different aerodynamic characteristics, could well help Red Bull Racing close in on McLaren.
"I hope so," he said. "I think that Malaysia is a considerably different prospect to here. Here it is short turns, it is bumpy, and there are not a lot of high-speed corners. But Malaysia offers that variance, so I think it will be interesting to see.
"We expect McLaren to be quick in Malaysia as well, but hopefully we will be in better shape there than we were here in qualifying."