The first race in Melbourne is just around the corner and Formula 1 teams are gearing up for a season which promises to be as technical as it is tactical.
Cars converge in 2013
With the sport's governing body, the FIA announcing minor changes to technical regulations, teams have mostly tweaked their cars in 2013, says F1 journalist Craig Scarborough.
"There are big rule changes coming up next year so the teams are trying to balance their resources. They don't need to completely go out and redesign their chassis, it's just a few little features that they want to incorporate. No one has produced a massively different or a massively exciting car this year," he said.
Red Bull and Ferrari both spoke of "evolution" at their respective car launches with Red Bull's chief technical officer Adrian Newey saying the focus had been on the details of the new RB9.
"We've tidied up some bits we thought could be improved upon -- but as is usual these days, this is a car in transition," said Newey at the RB9's launch.
"There will be one or two new parts appearing by the first race, which I'm sure is the same for everybody. After that it's going to be about development through the year," Newey added.
Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn says the new F1 W04 is a "clear step forward in design and detail sophistication over its predecessor," while Lotus have continued their design themes with the E21, according to technical chief James Allison.
"Everyone seems to be converging on the same solutions," Scarborough says. "You could almost get an identikit of a nose, a front suspension, a sidepod and a rear suspension and you could shuffle those parts around and pretty much come up with every car on the grid."
Swiss-based Sauber are perhaps an exception to the rule this year, unveiling a car with a new silver livery and noticeably slimmer sidepods.
"Rather than air being sucked into the radiators, the air is going straight over to the exhaust -- this benefits in terms of lower drag," explains Scarborough.
"Their car this year, as it was last year, is a bit of a tour de force in terms of good ideas and it's not surprising that Red Bull have copied two or three of their ideas on this year's car.
"Sauber might be seen as one of the teams that win the design race, but don't necessarily get the race-to-race results that that deserves."
'Tsunami of regulatory change'
As Scarborough says, imminent rule changes are looming in team's rear view mirrors.
"There is an absolute tsunami of regulatory change in 2014," says Lotus' Allison. "The cars need to be reinvented from scratch."
The biggest change is the engine, says Scarborough, with a 1.6-liter V6 engine replacing the 2.4-liter V8.
"The engine is producing a lot less power, but what you will have is a far more powerful hybrid/KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) set-up."
"You will have the conventional KERS -- which obviously charges under braking -- and you can also have a KERS device which attaches to the turbo charger, so when your off the power, you'll be generating energy through the turbo charger. It's called thermal energy recovery.
"This will give you more than double the power output -- (this year,) it's about 80 hp for 6.7 seconds, next year you will probably get 150 hp for about 30 seconds.