Kevin Magnussen thinks Racing Point and McLaren could challenge Ferrari for "best of the rest" behind Mercedes and Red Bull.
That unofficial title is normally given to the best team in the midfield, which in recent seasons has been a long way behind the top three group of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari. While Racing Point appears to have made a big step forward this season, Ferrari's SF1000 car looks to have gone in the opposite direction.
Ferrari has also pledged to fast-track as many of the upgrades it had planned for the third race, the Hungarian Grand Prix, for this weekend's race. The Red Bull Ring is set to host its second race in seven days, the Styrian Grand Prix.
Haas driver Magnussen thinks Racing Point's car could break the traditional look of the competitive order this year.
Speaking on the ESPN F1 Podcast, Magnussen said: "I think McLaren and Racing Point have a little step in front of the rest [of the midfield]. But then everyone else there... we can push I think.
"I think it's pretty good chance we'll see McLaren and Racing Point fighting for best of the rest and best of the rest this year might be third-best team. So that's an exciting battle. Not for us as we're probably not going to be in it! But for you guys it's going to be exciting."
Magnussen also welcomed Fernando Alonso's imminent return to F1 following news the Spaniard will drive for Renault in 2021.
"I'm all good with that. Great for Formula One, I think there will be a lot of people happy with that, fans etc.
"It will be good for Renault to have him in the car. Good for Ocon to have someone like him as a benchmark and that will really be an opportunity for him to shine, to be up against him. So great as far as I'm concerned!"