Hamilton and Button at the McLaren launchAt the McLaren launch this week the focus was not so much on the new car but on the team's world champion drivers and in particular which Lewis Hamilton will turn up to start the new season.
McLaren had built up hopes of a radical new car for 2012 but from the outside, at least, it appeared more evolution than revolution.
McLaren insist they have given every single part a complete overhaul so it remains to be seen what is under the skin of the new MP4-27 - remember, secret developments like the f-duct and Red Bull's blown diffuser (and McLaren's failed octopus exhaust) were not immediately spotted when they were introduced.
But for the launch, the unremarkable exterior appearance of the new machine immediately put the spotlight on Hamilton's reappearance from his winter hideaway training camp in Colorado.
Last year, the 27-year-old demonstrated his skills with some race-winning performances but also showed his darker side, with outbursts and moody moments overshadowing the high points. His off-track life appeared to take his mind off racing and he was beaten by a team-mate for the first time in his F1 career as Jenson Button claimed second in the drivers' championship.
After that, his mental approach to this year was always going to be under scrutiny.
Like Mark Webber, who had a tough season alongside Sebastian Vettel and took time out to get his head sorted back in Australia following his Tasmania Challenge adventure race, Hamilton wanted a complete break.
He cut himself off completely, taking some time out to relax before settling into a new, altered, training regime. If he's wise, he may have hired in a psychology coach too, to clear his head.
During the launch he declared himself ready to "win every race". He spoke of his switch-off time with the family and of getting his energy back - perhaps more on the mental energy side than the physical.
But some things are hard to forget. His praise of the new car's rear view mirrors and the quips about Felipe Massa may have been made in jest, but they show that those memories of controversial collisions in 2011 still remain in his mind. He needs to deal with them.
This year, he insisted, his focus would be fixed on racing rather than allowing it to be taken over by things off track. But any wave in the water and Hamilton will be again subject to scrutiny, and he will need all that mental energy to block it out.
One of the most important off-track elements is the decision on his future.
He is out of contract at McLaren at the end of this year and he said at the launch that he will "try to get that out of the way" early on. There may be options at Red Bull or Mercedes, but in reality McLaren is still his best bet. So if he is keen to stay there, why wait?
Concluding the deal over the winter and announcing it before the season would surely be wise - because only once its done will he be able to fully focus on racing. And only then will he be in the best position for the flying start he so desperately wants.