Jarno Trulli is optimistic that Toyota can compete with the likes of BMW Sauber and Renault this season.
With Ferrari and McLaren already way ahead of the rest, the Italian hopes that the team's new TF108 will allow them to challenge for the 'best of the rest' slot.
Trulli has also joined the long list of those who believe that Ferrari will be the team to catch this season.
"I don't know how the others are doing, but it seems to me the Ferrari is really quick," Trulli told Autosport in Barcelona. "Some have said the championship is already over.
"The season is long, but if a team like Ferrari start this well it won't be easy to make up the lost ground.
"I expect Ferrari and McLaren in front, and behind them I hope there can be Toyota too, along with Renault and BMW. I want to believe in it.
"I think the Ferrari can be around half a second faster than the McLaren, with the others behind. This is just my opinion, it's not based on real data."
Of Toyota's own prospects, Trulli said: "I think we can do better than last year, which wasn't good for us. First of all let's start over again in a better direction.
"With a potential like Toyota's great things can be done. We need to believe in it and maybe it'll take time."
The 33-year-old is upbeat about the TF108 and only had positive feedback after recent testing.
"I'm happy because the car compared to last year is definitely better," he added.
"I'm much more confident: in Bahrain we went rather well, also because we were up against Ferrari, and in my opinion they go really, really quick.
"I'm confident, the team have worked well and the car, as I said in Jerez, is a totally new car and several problems we had last year have been solved.
"There's more stability, it's easier to work. There are other problems but they can be solved little by little.
"The basis is definitely better. Now we'll have to carry on developing it throughout the year."