Ferrari is preparing to change its focus from testing to racing as the 2014 F1 season gets underway in earnest on the streets of Melbourne this weekend.

The team, which appears to be 'best of the rest' after the Mercedes-powered quartet that includes the works team, McLaren, Williams and Force India, has generally performed better in race conditions over the past few seasons, and is hoping that that record, allied to the current level of unpredictability in the new-look F1 can help put it in the frame for at least a podium finish 'down under'.

With the introduction of revised aerodynamics and, perhaps more crucially, an all-new 'power unit' combination of engine, transmission and regenerative technologies, none of the eleven competing teams have enjoyed a trouble-free build-up to Australia, but the Scuderia is hoping that its better race performance from 2012-13 can carry over into the latest era.

"On the mechanical side, there's a huge increase in complexity, so just working out the best way to build the car, change parts, rebuild it and how to be best prepared in Melbourne is a major task" engineering director Pat Fry told the team's official website, "In the past, the reliability of F1 cars has been incredible but, this year, their sheer complexity means it will be challenged, particularly in qualifying and the race."

While the initial concerns over reliability will dominate the early races, the actual management of the new powertrain is going to be an interesting new puzzle for engineers and drivers, and Fry reckons the whole face of an F1 weekend is about to change.

"Through the tests, we worked 24 hours a day, running shifts to ensure the car was ready, but, once we get to Melbourne, we are more restricted by the rules regarding what we can actually do and how many hours we are allowed to work," he explained.

"In some races, we will be fuel limited and we will have to work out the best way to save fuel. Effectively, we will be balancing electrical energy against fuel consumption and it's our job to work out what the best combination is for the race."

Ferrari stalwart Fernando Alonso posted the fifth-best time of the final test in Bahrain, with new team-mate - and Ferrari returnee - Kimi Raikkonen in seventh overall.