Albert Park in Melbourne couldn't have been a better venue to open the new era of Formula One with no driver aids. And with another Grand Prix just a week later - and at a radically different venue - the first two rounds of the 2008 world championships not only highlighted the differences between the two leading teams, but served to show just how tight the mid field will be this year.
As the cars are now devoid of traction control, braking stability aids, and corner-by-corner differential control, drivers struggled with the bumpy and slippery track in Australia.
Melbourne is all about big changes in speed and direction, lots of heavy braking into tight sequences of turns. This lower speed character challenged the cars and their drivers to maintain control. Their problems were exacerbated by the track conditions - Australia has recently seen an unprecedented dry spell - which, along with the high temperatures, reduced grip on the temporary track.
Friday's practice sessions saw the cars racing around with plumes of dust being lifted from the track, and thereafter the track was continually littered with dirt and debris from those spinning off in the corners.