Esteban Ocon expects that Alpine could face a "hell of a task" in retaining P4 in the Constructors' Championship.
The team beat McLaren to the 'best of the rest' position in the 2022 standings, having outscored their rivals by 14 points by the season finale.
Alpine have been vocal about moving closer towards the top three in 2023, and Ocon admits that seeing this level of improvement would be a win of sorts for the squad.
"It would be a win if we close the points down to [being] very close to third," Ocon told media, including RacingNews365.com, during pre-season testing in Bahrain.
"That's definitely a win for us. If we keep fourth, then we are the same place as we were last year. That would probably not be a win.
"It would be a normal thing, [a] normal improvement, and that's not what we are aiming for."
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Ocon wary of Alpine's competition
The likes of Aston Martin caught the eye of many during testing in Bahrain, with Fernando Alonso – who left Alpine to join the British squad – setting some noteworthy laps.
Ocon admits that Alpine could be facing some tough competition in 2023, with their aim to retain P4 seemingly not a given.
"Everyone around [us] is going to be working and thinking the same [about improving]," the Frenchman said.
"You guys [media] seem to think the Aston Martin is pretty fast. This kind of team, I know them well. I've been working with them, and they're also not settling to finish where they finished last year.
"All these guys are going to be trying to push forward, so even finishing fourth is not an easy task – clearly not [an easy task], very far from that.
"We can't underestimate anyone and finishing fourth is going to be a hell of a task already. But a win for us would be to close down the gap to be close to third."
Ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, RacingNews365.com journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth analyse where each of the F1 teams stands after pre-season testing.