FORZA FERRARI! A jubilant Sebastian Vettel celebrates his victory in Australia. Image: AFP / William West
Italy - Jean Alesi thinks his former Formula 1 team, the great Maranello marque Ferrari, is finally ready to challenge for the title.
The Frenchman, whose only win for the Italian team was in 1995, said Ferrari's decade-long wait for a world championship could now be over.
Easy to develop
He told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "The step into the new regulations was very unclear. There were a thousand doubts about what Mercedes or Red Bull would do.
"But after Australia, I now expect Ferrari to confirm that performance in China. The ease with which Vettel followed Hamilton in the race was astonishing, while Hamilton had no chance to follow Vettel. When a car is good from the beginning, the development is also easier."
READ: What a race! Ferrari wins 2017 Australian GP
However, former F1 team boss Flavio Briatore thinks it is a little early to say Ferrari will definitely fight for the 2017 crown.
Briatore said: "We will get a clearer picture in China. The Ferrari victory was great, but Melbourne is a special circuit and I still expect big things from Red Bull and Mercedes. In an ideal case, we will have a three-way fight for the championship."
Mercedes, Red Bull setback
Another former Ferrari driver, Italian Ivan Capelli, is also cautious about Ferrari's Melbourne showing.
"I think the victory had a lot to do with Mercedes and Red Bull taking a step back with their suspension," he said.
And former Toyota and Renault driver Jarno Trulli concluded: "Ferrari's initial position is right, but each of the top three teams has all the resources they need to develop efficiently through the season."