Force India's Sergio Perez believes F1's mid-field pack will reduce its deficit with the front-running trio comprised of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
Pundits admit that predicting the pecking order this year among the favourites is a difficult exercise, but guessing which team will be best of the rest is an even more challenging task.
The only certainty is that the battle among the challengers will be intense and relentless, starting next weekend in Melbourne, but ultimately Perez sees the pack closing the gap with the leaders.
"During testing we saw that all the midfield teams are quite close together in terms of performance. I also think the gap to the front of the grid is smaller," the Mexican said.
"Let’s see what happens. I feel in good shape and ready for the season to start. I want this to be my best year in Formula 1 and I want to be back on the podium."
Force India kept a rather low profile in pre-season testing in Barcelona, but the Silverstone outfit also fielded a basic version of its 2018 VJM11 charger.
The pink squad's new car will enjoy a significant upgrade in Melbourne however, a development which will hopefully allow its drivers to hold their own at the head of the mid-field where the team has been performing for the last two years.
"You always arrive in Melbourne full of hope," Perez added.
"There are lots of unanswered questions and it’s when you really start to understand your competitiveness.
"At the same time, it’s not a typical race because it’s usually quite unpredictable. Often, just finishing the race is the key to getting a good result."