Renault's Formula 1 midfield rivals admit that the team's "fantastic job" and "huge step forward" for 2017 have taken them by surprise.
Though Renault is only eighth in the constructors' championship at present, with Nico Hulkenberg's ninth in the Bahrain Grand Prix its only points finish, in pace terms it has firmly established itself in the tight midfield pack.
The team had a trying first season back as a works operation in 2016, and Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley admitted he had not anticipated Renault to be such a strong rival at the start of this year.
When asked by Autosport if he was surprised by Renault's upturn in form, he replied: "Yes I am.
"Renault have done a fantastic job over the winter, much better than I thought they would do, but we had identified that as a key issue.
"Going into testing, I felt we would be in a four-car battle with Williams, Toro Rosso and McLaren.
"Clearly McLaren didn't make it but Renault have stepped into where McLaren would be and I think it's going to be like that for the whole season.
"From what you can see at the moment it looks quite exciting.
"You've got two teams fighting at the front and four that are going to be battling for fourth place - obviously Red Bull are in the middle somewhere."
Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz Jr has been particularly impressed by Renault's one-lap pace, with Hulkenberg qualifying seventh for the last two grands prix, but thinks his Renault-powered team is closer in race trim.
"It looks like Renault on short runs have something extra," Sainz said.
"There's something there, maybe on the aerodynamics or in the short run on the tyre or something that we don't have over one lap.
"On the long run, it looks like we look a bit similar.
"We are particularly good on tyres this year, surprisingly for us, in China and in Australia we were very kind on tyres, so it might be something to do with that.
"But Renault definitely have taken a huge step forward on the car side. We can see it on the data."