Haas F1 Team boss Guenther Steiner is feeling positive about what the team's VF-18 challenger will be able to deliver this season.
"After the test, we can say we’re in the midfield - and hopefully in the top half of the midfield," he predicted.
"The guys did a very good job on aero and design to get a car that is better balanced than the 2017 car.
"We’ll only see in Australia how it stacks up against the other cars," he added. "But I think we are cautiously optimistic."
The signs so far are promising: Haas surprised many people in pre-season testing by being both fast and reliable.
“Reliability is already important at the test," Steiner agreed. "If your car is reliable, you can gather a lot of data and you get better prepared for the first race. Reliability is fundamental to a good car.
“Every season, or at least just before the start, is the most challenging," he continued. "You don’t know what you’re going to be in for. You don’t know how strong the opposition is. It’s always a challenge.
"But there’s not one more than the other - it’s always a big challenge every year," he explained.
One of the biggest issues the team faced last season was problems getting a brake package that suited both drivers. After pre-reason testing, Steiner believes that they might finally have addressed the question once and for all.
"It looks like most of that problem is sorted, if not all," he reported. "Again, we haven’t done a race with it, so I’m still a little bit cautious.
"You just use your experience and see what other people are running," he responded when asked how the team had finally arrived at a solution. "You get in contact with the suppliers and develop your own package."
Heading to Melbourne, Steiner set the team a suitably cautious target for the opening round of the 2018 world championship season.
"Double points is always the best finish," he said. "Getting into Q3 with both cars, that is our aim this year. Because then anything can happen."