AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly believes qualifying will be of great importance next weekend in Barcelona as he doubts that overtaking will be significantly easier at the venue with F1's new-generation cars.
The sixth round of the 2022 F1 world championship will take place at the Circuit de Catalunya, a track visited by teams back in March during pre-season testing.
Gasly believes the weekend in Spain, where most teams are expected to bring some major updates, will provide the field with its first real assessment of the pecking order and the relative performance of each outfit.
"It’s always an important weekend, because you get a clear picture of the performance of the various cars and where each team is in relation to the others," said the Frenchman in AlphaTauri's Spanish Grand Prix preview.
"We should get an idea of where everyone is, especially in the midfield, which is currently very tight: sometimes we’re a bit nearer the front and then in the space of just two tenths of a second, you can drop right back."
Formula 1's new-generation cars were designed first and foremost with the objective of improving overtaking. But the latter is notoriously difficult at the Circuit de Catalunya which offers a wide range of corners and speed.
The venue will therefore also provide a good test of whether F1's new regulations have indeed made overtaking easier. Gasly has his reservations and so underscores the importance of qualifying.
"We know it’s difficult to overtake at this circuit and it will remain the same, even with these new cars, because of the nature of the track," he said.
"But it’s hard to predict, so let’s wait and see what happens.
"For us it will be important to qualify well, near the front because I’d be surprised if there was ten times more overtaking than before!
"As a team, we just have to keep working the way we have been up until now and I’m sure that will pay off in terms of results."