The close but complicated competition at the front of Formula One is set to continue in Turkey this weekend - because the Istanbul track is one of the toughest tyre tests of the season.
The thrilling race in China three weekends ago proved that Pirelli's attempts to spice up the drama in F1 are working, with the variety of tyre strategies chosen by the lead teams ensuring a nail-biting finish as Red Bull lost out to McLaren for the first time this year.
The nature of this weekend's circuit could well take that drama further as Pirelli has admitted the track is the worst on the calendar for their tyres to handle. That is down to its extremely abrasive surface, which makes it easier to roll the rubber off the tyre's contact patch, and the notorious turn eight, which is one of the toughest corners on the calendar.
So far, every race this year has seen teams given the choice between hard and soft tyres (as opposed to the medium or super soft choices) and that will be the case once again in Turkey.
The idea of the different tyre types is to have the softer tyre choice providing a large amount of grip but wearing out quicker while the harder selection will last longer but offers reduced grip (and therefore slower lap times).
So far, however, the durability of the hard and soft tyres have been relatively similar so Pirelli tried out a new compound in practice at the last race designed to make the harder tyres last a bit longer, to make the difference between the two types more similar to that which was originally expected.
Understandably, in China most teams chose to concentrate on learning about the performance of the tyres they would be using over the race weekend rather than testing future design ideas, so Pirelli was left with as many questions as they had answers on their new creation.
That means the new hard tyre - which Pirelli had hoped would add an extra four laps of durability - will not now be raced in Turkey and predictions are that the nature of the Turkish track could cause those hard tyres to be even less durable than they have been in the past, equalising the difference between the different types even more.
An interesting analysis released by Mercedes this week showed just how important turn eight will be on tyres. The triple apex turn lasts for 8.5 seconds (which is 10 percent of the lap time) and is taken at an average of 270km/h. That makes it the longest sustained high-speed corner on the calendar.
The reason this is so important for the tyres is that the contact patch is the only thing keeping the car on the track and as the car goes around the corner the lateral (sideways) forces can reach up to 5G - all trying to push that contact patch sideways and break the forwards traction, resulting in the car sliding.
The nature of the forces in play puts the biggest pressure on the right front tyre, making that the most performance critical part of the car this weekend - and once again the set-up of the car is all about a compromise, in this case between what's good for the rest of the track and what suits this particular corner.
As some 40 percent of the total energy that is goes through the tyre during the lap is as a result of the forces in turn eight, that is the most important part of the set-up and the camber and ride heights will have to be optimised for this corner - so any car that is less sensitive to this set-up over the rest of the lap will be kinder to its tyres.
The most important first issue for this weekend, however, will be the safety of the tyres when stressed to this level and whether the new Pirellis can cope with the demands put on it by this corner (remember what happened when Michelin failed to deliver a tyre that could cope with a specific corner at Indianapolis in 2005?)
After that, the teams will spend the whole of Friday monitoring the loads on the tyres to understand how much they can get away with in terms of pushing the tyres through a stint.
The race takes place three weeks earlier than last year, so the weather is likely to be cooler than it was in the past - and if that is the case, the reduced temperatures could be a blessing for Pirelli.
For those cars with KERS, meanwhile, this is a circuit where the system will be of major strategic benefit as many of its straights follow low-speed corners - but on the flipside the extra acceleration through the tyres produced by the added KERS boost will also punish those tyres just that little bit more each lap.
The increased degradation could also cause problems with marbles, the strips of rubber that have been seen shredding off the tyres this year, and that could cause considerable grip loss when drivers try to make an overtaking manoeuvre stick.
So far this year the Red Bull cars have proven once again that their balance benefits them significantly in high-speed corners and if that extra grip enables them to save their tyres in turn eight that could be the difference this weekend.
But once again, with the teams facing such a challenge to understand the tyres at each Grand Prix, those that gets to grips with their tyre wear predictions best on Friday should be in the best position come Sunday afternoon.