Ross Brawn believes Nico Rosberg's ability to fight Lewis Hamilton has given credibility to Michael Schumacher's comeback campaign.
Seven-time World Champion Schumacher often came in for criticism during his three years back in the sport with Mercedes due to a perceived lack of pace.
The German eventually left the team at the end of last season, making way for Lewis Hamilton.
Rated by many as one of the top drivers in the sport, Hamilton has had a tough time against Rosberg, who has achieved two race wins to his team-mate's one.
And this, Brawn says, is proof that Schumacher's form wasn't as poor as some have claimed.
"Lewis brings a great reference to the team and is a great driver, someone whose raw ability you know is at the very top," Brawn said in an interview with Autosport.
"I think it was a little unfortunate with Michael because we didn't have these references. Michael had a tough time sometimes with Nico.
"Was that because Michael wasn't as good as he was? Or because Nico was better than people gave him credit for?
"I think everyone recognises now that Nico was better than people gave him credit for."