Red Bull Racing has worked ahead of schedule this year on the design of its 2018 car in order to avoid the team's customary slow start to its campaign, says Helmut Marko.
Wind-tunnel correlation issues were among the problems which hampered the development of this year's RB13 in the first half of 2017.
But when Red Bull corrected its trajectory, the Milton Keynes-based outfit came on song, winning three races and concluding its year strongly, a trend which mimicked previous campaigns.
"We noticed the trend that we earn more points in the second half of the season," Helmut Marko told Servus TV.
"For many years the philosophy of Adrian Newey was to present the car as late as possible, but for next year we have changed the approach.
"Now we are ahead of schedule by two weeks compared to last year," Marko revealed.
"If the engine is reliable, we will be able to fight in the leading group already from the first race of the season."
Daniel Ricciardo reckons that if Red Bull hits the ground running in Melbourne, the team could be considered as a favourite for the title.
"The rate of development has been amazing, so I'm hoping if we can start on the right foot in 2018, you would argue we would be the favourites," the Aussie told Motorsport.com.
"If we started with Mercedes and Ferrari [levels of performance], our development is pretty strong.
"This year we started off the train. I guess the direction they thought was going to be the right way wasn't.
"All the development was going towards this kind of aero configuration and that wasn't the way to go.
"We saw in testing our car looked very basic. Looks aren't everything but it shows that the performance wasn't there.
"We started in the wrong direction and that spiralled for the first few races and then we brought it back."