Magnussen finished in sixth-place in last weekend's season-opener in Melbourne - claiming the "best of the rest" status for Haas F1.
"It's still going to be very difficult to reach Red Bull as they're already quite a big chunk ahead of us," Magnussen admitted. "And they usually evolve and develop quite well over the season, even compared to the two other top teams of Mercedes and Ferrari."
If Magnussen is right in his prediction about the top three teams having too much for Haas - then the best him and Romain Grosjean can wish for is a fourth-place finish, which is one better than last season already.
"I think it's going to be close again, like last year," the Dane continued. "It's obviously difficult to say what the battle's going to be like for the rest of the year, but at least in Australia it was very close.
"It looked a lot like last year, maybe even closer."