Fernando Alonso says that fans can expect to watch a new Formula 1 as teams prepare for a more strategic style of racing thanks to the introduction of Pirelli tires in 2011.
The Italian tire manufacturer returns to grand prix racing for the first time in 20 years this weekend with compounds that have been deliberately designed to degrade faster than predecessor Bridgestone's to help spice up the racing. After testing proved that teams expect to stop three or four times during races this season, the Ferrari driver believes that getting strategy right will be even more crucial to his Sunday afternoons now.
"There are many things to learn to test with these tires, for sure there is a new way of doing the races in terms of strategy, so a new Formula 1 starts here in Melbourne in terms of strategy that we need to learn from here to keep for the coming races," he said in the Thursday press conference.
"We need to be focused and concentrated on the strategy because it can play a big part of the race result. And maybe, on the other hand, qualifying on Saturday has less value as on Sunday there will be more factors on track.
"The number of laps [completed on hard or soft tires] is impossible to predict right now, but I think there is not a big problem as it is the same tires for everyone," he added. "After tomorrow's practice we will understand a bit better how the strategy will work on Sunday, I don't have a particular worry for that.
"It is a new tire compared to last year, a new way of approaching the weekend and the strategy. It is something we have been practicing all winter, hopefully OK and hopefully more fun for the spectators."
Alonso said his sole objective in 2011 was to win the championship for Ferrari after watching the title slip from his grasp in the final round of last year's campaign at Abu Dhabi.
"I think if you race for Ferrari then there is no other goal than fighting for the World Championship, that is the history of Ferrari, the power of Ferrari," he said. "This team is about passion, motor racing and winning, obviously that is our aim, that is our goal for 2011 campaign – to try and fight for the World Championship.
"In the end, you can win or you can lose, depends on how competitive you are and depends on many other factors as well, I am sure we will be there."
The 29-year-old Spaniard, who last won a championship title five years ago, also said that he expected a stronger challenge from his teammate Felipe Massa, insisting that there was no number one driver at Ferrari.
"I think that I was not number one last year and I'm not number one this year," he said. "We try to do our best, Felipe has been strong all his career and strong last year. In the end he was maybe losing too many points, he had some bad moments like Singapore – it is not only the pure pace of performance, it is other factors that help fight for the championship.
"I expect Felipe to be very strong and a title contender, I think both fighting for the constructors' championship for Ferrari is a big thing."