Aston Martin boss Otmar Szafnauer says the team must remain wary of Alpine and Ferrari in spite of outlining its desire to finish third in the standings.
Aston Martin, under its Racing Point guise, was embroiled in a season-long battle for third in the 2020 standings but missed out by seven points to McLaren.
Renault, meanwhile, finished only 14 points behind while Ferrari classified sixth place overall.
“I think it would be foolhardy for us to not worry about those behind us and just look ahead of us,” said Szafnauer. “I think we’ve got to do a good job.
“The midfield is ever increasing in competitiveness and it’s getting much more difficult.
“I can’t see Ferrari staying sixth forever, so they’ll be really difficult to beat this year and beyond.
“McLaren beat us last year into third, they’ll be difficult. Renault [Alpine] have the might of a manufacturer behind them as well. They are not going to be easy with [Fernando] Alonso coming in, a two-time World Champion.
“So it will be very, very difficult for us to finish at the top of that midfield. It’s not going to be easy.”
Szafnauer nonetheless stressed that Aston Martin must still aspire to close its performance deficit to Formula 1’s current front-runners.
“At the same time we want to look at the guys that finished ahead of us and get closer to them, the Mercedes and Red Bull,” he said. “We want to get closer to them as well.
“So the task is great but we are up for the challenge and we will work hard and do the best we can to achieve that.”