Formula 1 teams' tyre choices for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix will be revealed by Pirelli at the start of this week, amid intrigue about just how different an approach top contenders have had.
Under new rules aimed at making F1 more unpredictable, teams have been given scope to choose their own compounds for race weekends this year.
While Pirelli picks three sets of tyres, teams have complete freedom for their remaining 10 sets, with clear strategic options depending on how aggressive they wish to be.
Because of the long lead-time Pirelli needs to prepare the tyres, the choices for the F1 season opener had to be made in December, with only the FIA notified about what each team required.
Although Pirelli has long ago manufactured and shipped the right quantity of tyres to Australia, it will only become aware this week about the specific team choices.
Once it has found out that information, it is expected to release the team choices by Tuesday at the latest.
Pirelli F1 racing manager Mario Isola is predicting some variety in what teams have chosen at this stage of the season, although is well aware that teams with very different choices could ultimately converge on the same compounds for the races.
"At the start of the championship I think we will have some variation because they had to choose the compounds quite in advance before the winter tests, at least for the first four races," he explained. "So I expect some differences.
"Then it is difficult to say whether these differences will only be for free practices and then teams will converge to a similar strategy for the race.
"The teams have very powerful tools of simulation and they are able to find the best strategy also with the new regulations."
Isola is confident, however, that the tyre choice freedom will likely result in teams trying to run as soft a compound as possible, which could open the door to more pitstops.
"Hopefully we will have different strategies, and probably more pit stops compared to last year, because we always added one soft compound," he said.
"If we compare the allocation from last year to this year, if we have teams that are planning to have more aggressive strategies then we should have a higher number of pitstops."