Melbourne: Ferrari`s Fernando Alonso expects a "new Formula One" to emerge at Sunday`s season-opening Australian Grand Prix as the change of tyre supplier will force teams to completely rewrite their race strategies.
The 29-year-old Spaniard expects to be challenging for a third world title regardless of the challenge presented by the tyres, other rule changes and what he thinks will be one of the more open championships of recent years.
The tyres produced by new provider Pirelli are designed to wear out more quickly with the aim of forcing teams to make more pit stops and break up the sometimes processional nature of the sport.
"The main thing is to learn this weekend... for sure there is a new way of doing the race in terms of strategy," Alonso told a news conference at the Albert Park circuit on Thursday.
"A new Formula One starts here in Melbourne in terms of strategy. We need to learn from here all the new things for the coming races.”
"We need to be very concentrated, very focused on strategy because it can play a big part in the result of the race. On the other hand, qualifying has a little bit less value than last year."
Alonso, who won the opening race of last season in Bahrain, said he was also comfortable with other changes for this year such as the reintroduction of the KERS system, which gives a short power boost, and adjustable rear wings.
Some drivers are uneasy about the driver-operated systems -- Red Bull`s Mark Webber described it as an "added bit of tummy tapping, head rubbing, multi-tasking" -- but Alonso saw no problem.
"The things you need to do with the steering wheel are part of our job, we are professional drivers," he said.
"We need to work with our team to work out the most comfortable way to do it. If you have no time to do those things, you don`t do it, it`s not obligatory."
Runner up in the championship to Sebastian Vettel last year with five race wins, Alonso said he could have no other aim for the season but to win his first world title with the Italian team.
"I think if you race for Ferrari, there is not another goal but fighting for the world championship," he said.
"That`s the history of Ferrari and the power of Ferrari. The team and the history that surrounds us is about passion and motor racing.”
"That`s our aim, our goal, to fight for the world championship. At the end, you can win, you can lose, it depends how competitive you are and many other factors but you need to be there, and I`m sure we will be."
The challenge from other teams would be strong, he thought, with Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes and Renault all potential contenders.
"Before race one, on paper there are five teams who can win races and fight for the championship," he said.
"After three or four races, you will see much better, there will be two or three that can fight for the championship. At the moment it is very open."
Even though team orders will be allowed this year, Alonso said he would not be given preferential treatment ahead of Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa, who failed to win a race last year.
"I was not number one last year, and I am not number one this year," he said. "Felipe will be very strong this year and was very strong last year but he had some `bad luck` moments.”
"I expect Felipe to be very strong and a title contender and hopefully scoring many points for the team because the contructors` championship for Ferrari is very important."