4. Has the midfield fight just got even tighter?
It was super-tight last year, and on the evidence of Barcelona testing, the answer is yes. Headline fastest lap times should always be taken with a bucketful of salt, but they will have at least offered the likes of Renault, Toro Rosso and McLaren some indication of progress.
Renault, now boasting the talents of Daniel Ricciardo, does appear to be best of the rest behind the Ferrari-Mercedes-Red Bull axis of power, but Haas, Toro Rosso, McLaren and Alfa Romeo will all be pitching for that status, too.
Haas quietly got on with the job of learning about its new car in Spain and showed the usual under-the-radar promise; Alfa’s Kimi Räikkönen appeared to be enjoying himself back at the team formerly known as Sauber; McLaren had an air of greater stability as new drivers Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris acclimatised (watched closely by team ‘ambassador’ Fernando Alonso); and the signs are Toro Rosso might sustain a higher level of performance this time around, with a tighter collaboration with sister team Red Bull.
Racing Point endured a few setbacks. But the consensus seems to be that the team formerly known as Force India should also be in the thick of that fraught midfield battle, too. Whatever happens at the sharp end, the ‘second division’ promises to be frenetic in 2019.