Formula One is back to doing what it does best: enthral fans and racers alike. In this thrill-fest of matchless competition, you would be wrong to presume that pressure lies alone with the drivers.
In this intricate battle of man and machine, the odds also lie heavily stacked with the latter.
On March 20th, as the Formula One engines go berserk in the maddening pursuit of reigning over one another, the focus shall lie also on an important constituent of the race's thrill: the tyre compounds. And, it must be said that Pirelli, the official supplier of tyres for Formula One does have a surprise awaiting the cynosure of everyone's eyes.
After all, F1 isn't just about the skill of the driver or the gravitas of the car. It's about the 'wheels' that set racing in motion; the moment your favourite driver starts the engine to go racing.
Here's what has changed
Something that has been in the offing shall unfurl as Formula One's "Pandora's box" unfurls its magical offering, starting with the Australian Grand Prix, 2016.
In addition to the usual 4 dry-weather tyres, this year Pirelli will introduce a new compound, known as the Ultrasoft.
The introduction of the 'ultrasoft' compound, what many call a rather 'confusing' new ruling in the game of ecstatic skill and nerve is marked with purple markings on the side walls. This therefore means that now, in addition to the supersoft, soft, medium and hard compounds, there is a 5th category made available for drivers in each of the 21 races stacked for the entourage of the 2016 F1 season.
What the Ultrasofts indicate
A rather glamorous looking purple lining on the sidewalls; the ultrasofts have been inducted by Pirelli into the grand fest of racing to induce superior mechanical handling to cars. This is the quickest tyre of the entire P0 range from the house of Pirelli.
In slow circuits with high-speed corners where there is more downforce tyres have to generate superior grip and balance for the car. The newly introduced ultrasofts shall do just that by providing a very high level of grip, adding to more precision and more 'drive-ability' to the F1 car.
It is known to all that at each race, each team has access to 3 compounds of these dry-weather tyres. At each race, teams will have full access to three compounds of these dry weather tyres.
What the racing weekend includes
Each car's full race allocation for the weekend comprises of 3 sets of wet tyres, 4 sets of intermediate and as many as 13 sets of dry-weather tyres. A further set of the softest compound available is provided for (by Pirelli) in addition to 2 mandatory sets for each of the cars from a racing outfit.
The rulebooks suggest that all drivers must at least use 2 different compounds of dry-weather tyres in the race.
Many suggest that the qualities of the ultrasofts don't exactly make it the most superior tyre compound out there but purely from the perspective of giving a car the balance between maneuverability and adaptability, Pirelli may just have struck the right chord for the 2016 season and who knows, beyond!