George Russell has claimed to 'not thinking about' matching Lewis Hamilton from day one at Mercedes with the pair needing to "work together" to keep Mercedes at the front of the grid.
F1 will race to an all-new set of technical regulations this year with almost no carryover of parts from last season.
Such a large change could result in a shakeup of the order and Russell conceded the immediate focus must be to ensure Mercedes can be competitive.
Asked in a media briefing including GPFans if he could match Hamilton from day one, Russell said: "It's something I've not even thought about, to be honest, because my main goal is to make sure I have the teams and the car around me for developing the car in a quick direction to give us the best opportunity over the course of the next two, three, four years.
"We've seen the development rate, we hear rumours from all the other teams of how much they're developing.
"You've got to remember Formula 1 developed this ruleset with the idea they [the cars] were going to be around four seconds slower, and we're already hearing from every single team that they're going to be far, far faster than that.
"Lewis and I need to work together, we can't focus too much on each other because things are constantly changing and that's why we need to take a step back.
"We hope Mercedes will still be the fastest team, the fastest car on the grid but there are no guarantees and we need to not be naive to that and to work together to ensure we are."