Red Bull's Jonathan Wheatley reckons Ferrari are the team to watch this year, recognising the Scuderia's recent progress and the strength of their driver line-up.
Ferrari endured a torrid 2020 campaign, scoring just three podiums and slumping to sixth in the Constructors' standings – their worst classification in 40 years.
However, an improved 2021 package - boosted further by power unit gains - was exploited by new teammates Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to return the squad to the top three behind title challengers Mercedes and Red Bull.
Red Bull view Ferrari as "the big threat" in 2022
As F1 prepares to head into a new era with overhauled technical regulations, Red Bull Sporting Director Wheatley admits the pecking order is tough to call, though singled out Ferrari as a potential challenger, given their momentum.
"I think it's very difficult to predict at this point; you only have your own references compared with last year's car," Wheatley told The Jack Threlfall Show, when asked about his expectations for the season ahead.
"You can get snippets of information from other teams, but you don't know if they're telling you the truth, or just trying to make you make worried.
"Basically, you have to look at your own office desk and you have to do the best job that you possibly can with that."
He continued: "Ferrari - certainly the power unit - looked to be very strong at the end of the year; they were clearly the third-fastest team at the end of the year.
"They've got a great driver line-up, as well. I wasn't sure about whether they would gel together as drivers, but they seem to have done that very well.
"I think Ferrari are going to be the big unknown, or possibly the big threat this year."
Red Bull want "a bare-knuckle boxing fight" for the title
Wheatley added that he would have no issues with Ferrari returning to form, or with more rivals stepping forward, providing that Red Bull emerge on top.
"My idea of the perfect World Championship is the one that we win, obviously!" Wheatley laughed.
"But I would like a bare-knuckle boxing fight from the first race to the last; I would like to have fighting every weekend.
"I would like to see, six, eight drivers capable of winning a race and it all comes down to who can string a championship together over 23 races.
"Who can make the fewest mistakes? Who can put the most competitive car down on the most weekends? Who can capitalise on those strategic calls at the last minute?
"Don't get me wrong, it would be great to dominate [and] win 23 races a year! But my ideal championship is one where you're exhausted at the end of the year, but that you've achieved something extraordinary."
F1 Podcast: Why F1 2022 could be the most exciting season ever
With huge changes being made to the F1 rule book for 2022, our journalists Dieter Rencken, Mike Seymour and Thomas Maher look ahead to the new season.