Formula 1 is a gladiatorial contest between drivers; a political dogfight between team bosses. But the true nature of the beast is tireless pursuit of engineering excellence. Mostly, therefore, F1 is a battle of brains: the ingenious ideas of the brightest minds forged in carbon fibre, pitted against those of their rivals. A skirmish of pens, drawing boards and CAD machines. Think to victory: design or die.
The cars are as intricate as Swiss clockwork; the engines a complex mix of fuel-starved, turbo-charged, gas-recycling, electro-powered, hybrid wizardry - capable of producing close to 1,000bhp.
The undoubted master of this sorcery in the V6 era is Mercedes, but the new aerodynamic rules and wider tyres introduced for 2017 have, to some degree, scrambled the picture. Ferrari came close to denying Mercedes last season, such was its leap forward with the SF70H - arguably its best car in a decade.