Formula One can no longer be accused of being predictable.
This year, the sport has undergone its biggest shake-up for a quarter of a century, with the aim of increasing overtaking, cutting costs and making the driver's role more important than ever.
Even the experts can't agree on how the season will pan out.
So what are these radical changes, and what impact will they have on the sport?
BLESSING OR KERS?
From this year, teams have the option of using a
Kinetic Energy Recovery System
The device gives drivers a power boost button on their steering wheel, conjuring up tantalising images of KITT in the iconic 1980s TV series Knightrider.
It works by recovering the kinetic energy (from the Greek word kinesis meaning "motion") which is normally wasted under braking and converting it into power.
The driver can use that burst of power in one boost (when overtaking, for example) or at key points around the circuit to reduce lap time.
Most teams have plumped for an electrical system, which stores the energy in a battery and releases it to the wheels when required.
Only Williams are so far trying out a mechanical system, which uses the energy to turn a small flywheel that turns at up to 100,000rpm and connects to the wheels when a boost in power is needed.
The added 80 horsepower is available to the driver for 6.7 seconds per lap.
So far, so good... but it has its drawbacks.
The weight of the device (around 35kg) means teams will have less ballast available to improve the balance of the car within the maximum weight limit.
The risk of electrical fires or electrocution is - understandably - a major concern, and Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel was spotted performing a two-footed leap out of the cockpit during testing.
Williams, Red Bull and Toyota have already ruled out using the new system at the season-opener in Australia (27-29 March) and only McLaren say they are likely to deploy it in Melbourne.
GOODBYE GROOVES, HELLO SLICKS
Grooved dry tyres are out (left), slicks are in (right)
Untreaded dry tyres, known as slicks, are back after 11 years on the scrap heap.
Grooved tyres were brought in in 1998 to reduce speeds from what were considered dangerous levels.
However, with other new regulations acting to slow up the cars in 2009, slicks are back in town.
It is the rubber in the tyre that provides the grip, so the more of it that is in contact with the track, the better the grip and the faster the car can go.
Or as Vettel succinctly puts it: "It's more fun."
Even the casual F1 fan will probably notice changes in the appearance of the cars in 2009.
In very simple terms, the new regulations should mean: overtaking easier, staying on the track harder.
The 2009 Red Bull (right) looks significantly different to the 2008 model
Downforce, which literally presses the car onto the track, is reduced by the outlawing of all those extra items that stuck out of the cars (barge boards, winglets, chimneys, cooling fins and turning vanes).
While being very useful aerodynamically, those extraneous components created a turbulent wake which made it awfully difficult for the driver behind.
So while the new cars may not look all that pretty, it should hopefully lead to more wheel-to-wheel racing and overtaking.
In addition, the
, now lower and as wide as the car, has driver adjustable-flaps, which can be raised to generate more downforce and lowered to create more straight-line speed. They can only be used twice per lap.
is taller and narrower while the
- which creates downforce through air flow - has been moved back and up, reducing grip but lessening the wake behind.
There may be a down side though.
BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica has expressed a fear that the wider front wing could cause some serious crashes - and therefore might actually discourage drivers from wheel-to-wheel combat.
"We have to be really careful not only at the first corner but especially when you think you have overtaken the guy and you close the line," said the Pole, who finished fourth in the drivers' championship last year.
"Now you can easily take off his wing and this wing is quite huge and it will go under the car."
Watch Red Bull's video explaining the rule changes
COUNTING THE COST
It is estimated that last season teams spent a collective £2bn, a figure F1 boss Max Mosley eventually wants to cut by an astonishing 80%.
Hitting that target will certainly take time, and may ultimately prove impossible, but this season's new measures should see a 30% reduction in costs.
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