World champion Fernando Alonso believes Ferrari will still be the team to beat at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Italian squad began the season in dominant fashion in Australia, with Finn Kimi Raikkonen winning the race after leading from pole position.
Alonso, in his first race for the McLaren team, had to settle for second place after battling with his teammate Lewis Hamilton for a big part of the race.
Although three weeks have passed since the first race of the season, and McLaren have made progress in testing at Sepang last week, the two-time world champion believes it will be hard to beat Ferrari this weekend.
"It is nothing new that Ferrari are stronger than everyone else at the start of the season and it is not a surprise for anybody that they come here as favourites again and are ready to win," Alonso told reporters ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
"What we have to do is close the gap. We don't know how much it will be in this race, but we saw in Australia that it was seven or eight tenths. For sure we did one week testing here, we did some developments on the car and improved the car but for sure everybody did the same.
"Hopefully the gap is less, but for sure there are no surprises for this Grand Prix. We will see a similar picture to Australia, with Ferrari in front of everybody."
Raikkonen's chances in Malaysia, however, could be dented before the race, if fears of problems with his engine materialise.
It also remains to be seen how the new test to avoid moveable floors will affect Ferrari, but Alonso expects the Italian team to remain ahead nonetheless.
"Well, we will see. I think the rules are the same for everybody so hopefully if this floor issue is fixed, and it is the same rule for everybody, then it can be a help for us," he added.
"Maybe they had some advantage there, but I don't think it will be a change like day and night. I don't know if they will lose performance but if they do then I think it will not be a significant performance loss that we can win the races now."