The biggest change that spectators in Abu Dhabi will notice this year compared with last year's race will be the absence of refuelling; last year's season-ending race at Yas Marina Circuit was the last time - for now, at least - that Formula One cars were allowed to take on fuel during pit stops.
Throughout this season the cars have had to start each race carrying all the fuel they will need to go the distance. Because they cannot add fuel once the race has started, drivers have to race more tactically and even more slowly if there is a risk that their tanks are going to dry up before the chequered flag.
As a consequence of the new rule this season's cars have been designed differently, to accommodate much bigger fuel tanks.
Last year on average the most fuel that a car would carry would be about 80 litres - roughly the same as a Toyota Land Cruiser. Now they have to be able to hold around 250 litres if they are to finish.
Refuelling was outlawed by Formula One's ruling body the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) at the end of the 2009 season for a number of reasons, key among which was safety.
Another reason was to cut costs; the ruling means teams no longer have to use and transport around the world the large unwieldy fuel rigs they had been obliged to use before then.
Practice on Friday and Saturday is no longer about getting the best single-lap race pace set-up on the car. Instead, teams now work on their set-up with a heavy fuel load, so don't be concerned if your favourite driver is lapping four or five seconds off the pace in the practice sessions tomorrow and on Saturday. It's not that they have suddenly forgotten how to drive; they are learning how their car handles with a lot of fuel on board, so they are not caught unawares in the opening laps of the race.
Another element to watch for in Sunday's race is fuel conservation. Uusally at some point in a race a driver will have to slow a little to ensure they have enough fuel to finish the race, so again, do not be worried if the driver you are backing slows down.
A knock-on consequence of the refuelling ban has been that tyres have become a more important factor in strategy. With every car now in effect the same weight throughout the race, the one factor that can now vary is what tyres the teams use.
The idea of teams having at some point in a race to use two tyre compounds, supplied by current tyre manufacturer Bridgestone, is not new, having been first introduced in 2007. The Option (soft) tyre and the Prime (hard) tyre are the choices the teams have and, in a dry race, both compounds must have been used by a driver before they have completed a race.
This is not new, but what has changed is that this rule now has an impact on qualifying. In different forms, the previous six seasons had seen drivers having to qualify with their cars carrying the fuel load with which they would start the race. Now, with refuelling out of the picture, tyres are the crucial variable.
The drivers who reach the final part of the three-stage qualifying session have to choose which tyre compound they will start the race on. Throughout the season the faster cars have almost always gone for the Option for the final part of qualifying, because its softness offers more grip and it is the quicker tyre over a single lap.
But what the teams now have to assess is how good the Option is on a car heavy with fuel, and how long the tyres will hold up in the opening stages of the race. What they don't want is the tyres to lose grip too quickly, forcing an early pit stop, as there is the danger of coming back out into slower traffic.
Teams usually make only one pit stop in a race, to change from the Options to the Primes, and now the cars will all stop at more or less the same point in a race.
Last season it was better to pit later than your rivals due to having a lighter car, but now the driver who pits first usually has the speed advantage as on fresher tyres their car will have superior grip and their lap times should quicken, allowing them to leapfrog the cars running ahead of them if they stay out too long.