The Monaco Grand Prix offers teams a different challenge to anywhere else on the Formula One calendar - so what affects performance, will the new rules make a difference and can anyone challenge Red Bull?
The Monaco track is more bumpy and slippery than other circuits as it is normally an everyday road and it is even opened to traffic every evening during the race weekend itself. Also, with F1 practice taking place on Thursday instead of Friday, any grip that is put down in the opening sessions has often disappeared come qualifying day.
Its use of the twisting Monaco harbour front roads also limits the longest straight to just 669 metres (almost half the 1368m or 1397m straights in Turkey and Australia) and sees the average corner speed down at 102km/h (where the other races so far this year have spread from 128km/h in Turkey to 156km/h in Australia).
All that combined with the unique narrow barrier-lined nature of the track, which has little run-off area and few places where the track is more than three cars wide, create significant changes in set-up and strategy - which is why so many teams hold out hope of a surprise result here.
The main issue is the switch in importance of aerodynamic and mechanical grip. The bumpy circuit means cars need to be raised higher than normal and run softer springs, creating a car with constantly changing ride height. That and the fact cornering speeds are lower than normal puts the focus more on the ability to generate consistent mechanical grip than on aerodynamics.
That said, aerodynamics still plays a part, with the high-speed tunnel section requiring low drag for maximum speed and some of the higher speed corners still seeing an effect from downforce - so while there is a lower influence overall, teams that can generate high downforce for low drag penalty will still benefit a little from that in Monaco.
The driver is also challenged more in Monaco than elsewhere, so having confidence in a car is very important. That means having a car that is positive, with good turn-in on corners and reduced understeer. This can be achieved by good mechanical traction as well as extra aerodynamic elements that add downforce at low speeds.
On top of this, the new regulations will certainly throw in a few extra factors to consider.
There is often debate over the benefit of KERS in Monaco, but most engineers believe it is of limited use. When it was last available, in 2009, the then Renault engineering chief Pat Symonds said: "I can't think who would think it is good. You cannot get the power down there and you can only use KERS when you are not traction limited, and you are traction limited for a very long time at Monaco."
Back then, only Ferrari and McLaren used their KERS systems - but at that time it came with a weight penalty. This year, the maximum weight of the car has been increased to allow for the system. However, if a team takes the system off they must use ballast to bring the car back up to weight and that ballast can be located in the best position for good overall car balance.
McLaren claim simulations show KERS is "worth as much as anywhere else" but given Red Bull's issues with their system so far this season, might the Milton Keynes team be tempted to drop it for this race in favour of giving their car a better balance set-up?
The ban on using DRS in the tunnel is likely to make the system pretty much redundant for Monaco. It can be used anywhere else around the track in practice and qualifying, but it is only truly effective when running at high speeds, so its influence will be limited.
In the race itself, the DRS zone will be on the start-finish straight. That is only 300m long, so it is unlikely there will be enough time for cars to launch an attack - not to mention the fact the track can be made very narrow by the car under pressure and with backmarkers more regularly encountered at Monaco the car in front is also likely to often be in a position to use their DRS too, to cancel out the effect.
Given the Australian Grand Prix zone, which was 867m long, had limited effect, the same is likely to happen in Monaco - although the narrow circuit means DRS could have an effect if a driver loses concentration from having to push so many buttons.
This is the first outing for the super soft tyre (with the soft tyre becoming the harder option for this race) and although teams tested them before the season began, there is a lot to learn in a short time.
The soft tyre has been brought in to give cars grip on the slippery road circuit surface, but the slippery circuit can often give rise to wheelspin and that degrades tyres quicker than in somewhere like Barcelona.
In recent qualifying sessions, teams have been saving tyres for the race but this weekend it will be harder to predict how important that will be compared to getting a good grid spot. Managing traffic is more difficult in Monaco, so teams may have to fuel enough to give their cars a couple of shots at a time on each set of tyres.
In the race, pit stops cost between 24-27 seconds and although Pirelli believes a two-stop race is possible, the teams are waiting to understand the degradation levels before making their predictions.
If there is lots of degradation it could be a chaotic race, so traffic management and slick pit work will be more crucial than ever. With the limited overtaking places, coming out on new tyres and getting stuck behind a slower car that still has a long time before it will pit could ruin a race strategy in an instant - and even if the stop is perfectly planned, any mistake in the pits could see the car going back out in a terrible position.
On top of this, the marbles thrown off this year's tyres are much more significant than we have seen in many years - and the close proximity of the Monaco barriers could make this a problem this weekend.
Having stood just half a metre from the track at the entrance to the swimming pool in previous years, I have felt how the rubber pings off barriers, with some going up and off the circuit and some bouncing back onto the racing line.
One argument says that high-speed cornering has been mostly to blame for creating the marbles, so they may not be so prominent here. If they are, however, the bounce back effect could make even the racing line very low in grip, which could certainly catch out some of the rookies.
So what does this all mean?
Well, in terms of traditional set-up factors, based on last year's performance Renault did manage to get a front-row grid spot and a podium finish while Mercedes also looked strong on pace (if not results) thanks to its traditionally shorter wheelbase car. But Red Bull still won.
Both Renault and Mercedes have similar trends in their cars this year to last, so both will be looking for a similarly strong performance - indeed Renault have said they are looking to win. McLaren are also confident their car has the low-speed grip to suit the circuit.
The largest proportion of Red Bull's advantage is known to come from their high-speed aerodynamics, so if Monaco does cancel out that benefit the others will have a chance. But then they have to take it - and that means predicting the traffic in qualifying and getting the breaks with pit stops in the race.