On a track more representative of what can be expected for the rest of the season, the degradation of the Pirelli rubber has become a cause for concern.
Slow-motion replays throughout Friday's two 90-minute practice sessions showed considerable chunks of rubber falling away as the cars slid around a variety of corners at the Sepang International Circuit.
The heat of around 35 degrees centigrade, and the high humidity, do not aid matters, and there are concerns that, even without rain that often occurs late in the afternoon and so could affect the race, a driver may have to make as many as four pit stops.
Mark Webber's frustration was evident after practice as he offered a cursory summation, stating: "The whole category is geared around tyres at the moment.
"Everything is around tyres. Tyres, tyres, tyres, tyres, tyres!"
After topping the timesheet in the morning, Webber finished fifth quickest overall at the end of the day behind Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus, with the Finn narrowly ahead of Sebastian Vettel.
Like team-mate Webber, the reigning triple world world champion was none too impressed either with how quickly the tyres fall away.
Simply asked about his potential for the race, Vettel replied: "It looked pretty okay, but quite a mess if you look at how long the tyres last.
"It doesn't look very nice, I would say. I hope we have enough tyres to survive the race.
"Tyre-wear was pretty severe for everyone, so obviously you go around way under the potential of the car. It is not a lot of fun, but that is how it is."
It is understood Pirelli were asked towards the end of last season to design a range of tyres that degraded a little more quickly as boring one-stop races were starting to appear.
However, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: "I don't remember asking for more degradation."
Horner then delivered his most telling comment when he said: "I don't think anyone up and down this pit lane understands these tyres."
Although each compound is half a second quicker, Pirelli promised at least two pit stops per race, although may have gone too far if the predictions for this weekend prove correct.
Horner added: "I don't think it's just my drivers that are talking about the tyres, it's throughout the paddock.
"Looking at the amount of rubber that has been left on the track, it looks quite significant.
"But let's see how this weekend pans out and then we'll get a clearer picture, but you can see the tyres are quite fragile.
"You only have to look at the slow-motion shots to see how much rubber is coming off them, even in a straight line, which is quite surprising, but then it's the same for everybody.
"The tyres are playing a key role at the moment, and they'll play a decisive factor this weekend, so it's going to be a matter of finding the operating window that gives them performance and longevity."