Fernando Alonso has no doubts the best car will still win this year's championship, despite tire strategies being highlighted as one of the vital factors to enjoy a successful season.
Pirelli's high-degradation tires are set to overhaul the way racing is conceived, with smooth drivers expected to have an edge over more aggressive rivals. Ferrari driver Alonso concedes strategies will still be very important this year, but the Spaniard insists the tires will not decide the championship.
"As usual in F1, the quickest or best car will win the championship in the end," said Alonso. "Strategy is important – maybe one or two races will be decided by a very good strategy or someone very quick can have a mistake in a strategy point of view and lose that victory.
"Over 19 races you can make mistakes one time in strategy, or you can do a very good strategy one time but not every race, so in the end the most important thing will be to have the quickest car and we are working for that."
Alonso reckons that, unlike last year, the strategies will vary a lot from driver to driver, and he believes teams will have to be very flexible in how they approach the races.
"There are many possibilities this year," he said. "It is not like last year so that will be the most important thing. Sometimes it is better to sacrifice some laps that you know you are very slow at the end of the run, but maybe you make one stop less. It is a difficult call and a difficult judgment that we will need to make. We will need to be very open and very flexible in every race."
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner agrees that there will be a lot of different strategies in every race, and expects the racing to change significantly.
"I think what it is going to introduce is different-shaped races," said Horner. "You are likely to see more stops and perhaps different strategies. But, at the end of the day, it is the same for everybody and it is a matter of doing the best to understand the tires and have the best strategies.
"It is something we were very strong with last year. Strategically, the team was very sharp and it is the same for everybody, so we will see."
Mercedes GP team principal Ross Brawn thinks most teams will have to stop three times at each race, with four stops likely to mean losing time at most tracks.
"With these tires, you cannot afford to go into the high-degradation period, because they degrade in a fairly linear way and then they fall off quite a lot toward the end of their life," said Brawn. "So you don't want to be falling into that period, because you can lose quite a lot of time.
"Ideally, you set your car up and the drivers drive the car to get the best race time and the minimum number of stops, so I think most of us will be looking at three-stop races – if you get to four stops, then possibly you are using the tires a bit harder than you should and it would be quite hard to make up that extra pit stop time.
"It does depend which track we are at because some tracks have much shorter pit stops than others. Monaco used to be incredibly short for pit stops, so that was a track where you could afford to do pit stops without too much loss.
"It depends on the circumstances, but if your model shows four pit stops are faster as a race and you think you can drive to the speed available then you could see four-stop races."