Double world champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari said 'a new Formula One' will be unwrapped here in Melbourne this weekend when Sunday's Australian Grand Prix bursts into action.
After the introduction of a clutch of new rules and a new tyre supplier, the 29-year-old Spaniard believes the spectacle and the sport will be so much changed it will seem to be 'all new' when the curtain rises on the new season.
Alonso said: "We have had many things to learn ahead of this season and we have the new tyres as well. But I think we have done a lot of testing so we are ready, but it will be something different with the tyres and the pit stops.
"A new Formula One starts here in Melbourne this weekend from a strategy point of view..."
He explained that as the new Pirelli tyres have been designed to degrade faster than last year's Bridgestone tyres, the teams and their drivers will need more pit-stops during the race.
Many drivers have forecast four or more, depending on the conditions.
"Yes, now we will be very focussed on this and it will be a big part in the final race result," added Alonso, winner here for Renault in 2006. "Qualifying will be of less value, too, because there will be so many other factors in force during Sunday's race."
The 2005 and 2006 champion made clear he felt his team were in good shape ahead of the race following a smooth and intensive winter of preparation and testing with the new adjustable rear wing and reintroduced KERS, in which energy used under braking is stored for use as a power-boost.
"We have more buttons on the steering wheel and more things to do, but we are professional racing drivers so that is our job," he said. "I am not too concerned. It is what we have to do..."
He was equally unconcerned by the expectations heaped on him by Ferrari, their fans and their president, Luca di Montezemolo, who said in January that a championship challenge was the least he wanted from the team.
"If you race for Ferrari, there is only one goal and that is to fight for the World Championship and to win world titles... The history of the team can tell you that - it is about passion, and about racing and winning."