Felipe Massa reckons Brawn GP can secure the championship early in the season if it can continue to show the kind of form it used to dominate qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.
"Yes," Massa said when asked in Brawn was in a class of its own.
"If they carry on like that, they'll win the championship in the middle of the year."
Jenson Button grabbed pole position for the race, with team-mate Rubens Barrichello securing a front row lockout for the British squad.
Ferrari driver Massa had to settle for a dissapointing seventh position, nearly a second off Button's pace.
"We always expected a little bit better, but not a lot," added Massa. "We expected a tight qualifying. This morning I thought top five would have been possible, but very difficult. But it was not possible.
"Anyway, if you see the difference between the third and myself is quite small, so it means we need to see the fuel levels. But anyway, it was a big difference to the guys in front."
The Brazilian said seeing rivals McLaren struggling even more was little consolation for him.
"We are not racing against McLaren, we are racing against everybody, so it doesn't change anything to fight with McLaren or to fight with another team. Every team who has a competitive car can fight to win the race and the championship so...
"It's always a bit of a surprise, but we have so much to do that we better concentrate on ourselves."
Massa admitted, however, that he is confident Ferrari can make progress and move closer to the front with hard work.
"I am confident," he said. "I believe in my team. I know we can do it, so we need to work very hard. It won't be easy, especially when you start like that and you have cars in front of you with better pace.
"That's why we need to work very hard, but I trust the team and I trust myself."