Jackie Stewart: 'Mercedes must be challenged'

    (CNN)Can anyone match the mighty Mercedes Formula One team in 2015?

    Jackie Stewart, a three-time world champion, hopes a rival can rise to the challenge for the good of the sport.
      The Silver Arrows had the rest of the grid quivering after world champion Lewis Hamilton led home Nico Rosberg for a peerless one-two at the Australian Grand Prix.
      Stewart told CNN: "I would like to see a more competitive season coming up than we had in the first race in Australia.
      "I don't think Hamilton and Rosberg were stretched at all. I don't think they pushed anything like the limits of the car.
      "They are well ahead of the competition. We don't want to see that going on for too long, we need the other teams to catch up.
      "We need somebody to challenge Mercedes."
      Hamilton wins Formula One world title
      Hamilton wins Formula One world title

        JUST WATCHED

        Hamilton wins Formula One world title

      MUST WATCH

      Hamilton wins Formula One world title 02:30
      After 16 wins and a clean sweep of the driver and team championships in 2014, there were ominous signs in Melbourne that Mercedes will motor to another clutch of titles this season.
      Hamilton took the checkered flag 1.3 seconds ahead of Rosberg, who was unable to challenge his teammate for the victory.
      Even more worryingly for the competition was that Hamilton finished a huge 34.52 seconds in front of the next car, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, and two laps ahead of last finisher, Jenson Button's McLaren.
      "You have to have close competition," argues Stewart. "To see close racing, to make demands on who is going to win, either the car or the driver.
      "There will always be somebody leading the pack but they have to be threatened and they have to occasionally be beaten.
      "There was a period [2000-2005] when Michael Schumacher and Ferrari were so dominant that no other team and no other driver outside of the two Ferrari drivers -- Schumacher and his teammate Rubens Barrichello -- were just winning everything.
      "The crowd attendances went down, the television audiences went down, simply because it was too easy for those two drivers in those cars to win grands prix.
      "We don't like to see that. We need competition. Formula One is famous for comebacks. We hope that will happen, as we need that this season."
      Mercedes returned to the F1 grid in 2010 but flexed their muscles when new rule changes centered on hybrid engine technology came into effect four years later.
      The team's engine was so powerful and so well integrated with the car's aerodynamic design that it outstripped those of rival engine suppliers Renault and Ferrari.
      In 2015, Mercedes supply three other teams -- Williams, Force India and Lotus -- while Renault power Red Bull and Toro Rosso, Honda partner McLaren while Ferrari are due to fire up Manor Marussia.
      Stewart says it is over to these manufacturers to try and close the gap on the Mercedes engine, which experts say is even more powerful in 2015.
      When Silver Arrows dominated F1
      When Silver Arrows dominated F1

        JUST WATCHED

        When Silver Arrows dominated F1

      MUST WATCH

      When Silver Arrows dominated F1 04:14
      "The Mercedes engine is currently the best in Formula One," says the 75-year-old. "The Renault engine was very successful but for some reason they've lost the plot with the new regulations and right now they're well behind.
      "Honda [which has returned in 2015 to power McLaren's cars] have a strong record in making competitive engines but right now they're well behind. They are just entering the sport so we need to give them a wee bit of time.
      "Ferrari are developing well and are certainly better than they have been in the last two or three years. They have a lot of experience and are well financed.
      "We need somebody to challenge Mercedes. The team's history is to get into the sport at the highest level -- which is F1 -- win and then get out.
      "They did that in the 20s, 30s and 50s when Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss were driving, they won everything and then they withdrew. Why should they wait to be beaten?"
      Mercedes will find out if anyone can stop them in Sunday's Malaysia Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit.