Having finished eighth in both of its first two seasons, much like the infamous 'third album', many will be watching Haas with keen interest this year to see whether the American outfit can make further progress or has in fact already peaked.
While the American outfit encountered a few technical issues in pre-season testing leaving it with the second lowest mileage, pace was strong, with both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen looking good, the Dane posting the sixth fastest time of the test and on the supersofts to boot.
In the wake of the tests, team boss Guenther Steiner put the improved form of the 2018 car down to better understanding of the tyres, and speaking in Italy this week Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted that the American outfit could be one of the big surprises this year.
"In our statistical data they looked pretty quick," he said, "but then again if someone is 20kg lighter, it's eight tenths difference.
"I very much hope they are there," he admitted. "They deserve it... Gene has taken some risks, he's a true entrepreneur, and crazy Guenther is giving it all. He's a good operator. He knows what he's doing."
Admitting that it is "difficult to judge at this stage", the Austrian said he expects the midfield battle will be hard fought.
"There is Renault which will make a step forward and McLaren," he said. "Williams has been looking good on the long runs. So I think there are a lot of teams who are just behind the top three that could be a surprise."