Mar.20 (GMM) Flavio Briatore's big hope for 2017 is that Mercedes will be challenged for the world championship.
The controversial former team boss was asked by F1 insider Leo Turrini if, like many Italians, he is excited by rumours that Ferrari's title drought could finally end in 2017.
"I do not share this optimism surrounding Ferrari," Briatore told Turrini's Quotidiano blog.
"I understand the feeling after the Barcelona test, but I doubt that the results are reliable," he added.
"I just cannot imagine Mercedes behind, with the margin of advantage they had until the end of November. I think the Germans have been hiding," Briatore said.
"I would settle for a more balanced championship, with competition between different names."
Briatore, who recently held a surprise farewell party for his friend Bernie Ecclestone, was also asked about new F1 owner Liberty Media's plans for the future.
"I do not enthuse about Liberty, who bought formula one but may not know what they have bought," he said.
"They want to make every grand prix like a Super Bowl, but what are they talking about? How do you do a Super Bowl in the middle of the Ardennes? Or in Malaysia, between the monsoon and the snakes?"