In 2017 Haas overcame the long-held belief that a new Formula 1 team's second season is tougher than the first by scoring significantly more points, even if its position of eighth in the constructors' table did not change.
The second-year theory is based on the obvious notion that a new team has plenty of time to focus on its debut and get its first car ready, but then has to design and develop the second car while in the middle of a frantic racing season. In 2017 Haas had the added challenge of dealing with the massive rules changes.
Having beaten the odds last year there's no reason to suspect that Haas will do anything wrong in 2018. But it's clear that several of the teams with which it has been competing will be raising their game. The likes of McLaren, Renault and Sauber (with a contemporary engine) all have momentum and reasons to make forward progress, and while there are question marks over the form and reliability of the Honda package, works support will be a huge boost for Toro Rosso.