Formula One teams have taken different approaches to create their 2022 car under the new regulations, and the pre-season testing in Barcelona on February 23-25 will be a first chance to see who has found the right path for now.
The new rules, which will mainly affect the cars' aerodynamics, are aimed at reducing the gap from Mercedes and Red Bull to the mid-table teams, and make the sport more equitable and sustainable.
F1 hopes to return to a ground effect-like philosophy, largely used in the 1970s and 1980s to create suction underneath the car pulling it onto the track - making it faster.
Another important change will be the switch to 18-inch wheels. The bigger tyres are expected to increase the stability of the cars, meaning teams can now focus less on addressing turbulence - which should result in lower costs.
When the new cars were unveiled over the past weeks, great bodywork variations were observed as each team tries to find the best way to adapt to the new regulations.
"[The new rules] will take a little while to settle in but I think we're going to be in a far better place going forward with the type of car we’re going to have than we had," F1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn said.
'A fresh start'
Several drivers described the 2022 season as a "blank sheet of paper" that will allow a fresh start for everyone, including for the teams who have recently struggled in the back of the grid.
"It’s such a huge change in so many ways, that it’s just been really interesting seeing the designers and everyone coming together to find the best ways of creating a masterpiece," seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said during the Mercedes car launch last week.
Usually during testing, not all cars are fast or reliable, and a few teams deliberately underperform so not to show the true speed and performance of the car.
F1 plans to hold a second round of pre-season testing on March 10-12 in Bahrain, where the season kicks off on March 20.
Mercedes won all eight constructors' titles in the first hybrid era from 2014 and only the controversial victory of Red Bull's Max Verstappen last season prevented a sweep of the drivers' honours.