Esteban Gutierrez has predicted tyre management will be as important as ever at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Mexican is making his debut at the pinnacle of the sport this season, but to date has still to open his account, although admittedly the Sauber C32 hasn't exactly been the most competitive car on the grid.
So far his best result is the 12th place he managed in Malaysia, where he also recorded his best qualifying position, lining up in 14th on the grid.
After tough races in China, where he ran into the back of Adrian Sutil, and in Bahrain, where a incident on the first lap forced him to pit for a new nose, he will be hoping for better luck in Barcelona.
Indeed a top-ten result would be a welcome boost and given he knows the Circuit de Catalunya well that could aid his cause, as could the new updates the team is planning to evaluate on the Friday, including a modified rear wing [see separate story]
“The first time I raced in Barcelona was in 2008,” Gutierrez remarked ahead of the fifth round in the 2013 F1 World Championship. “I know the track and during the winter tests I was also able to experience driving a F1 car there. As the first of a series of European races, I think it is going to be an exciting event and I'm looking forward to that.
“The track is quite demanding, especially the last sector. Tyre management will be crucial here, and, especially during a qualifying lap, you need to nurse your tyres in the first two sectors in order to get a clean third sector. You must make sure the tyres still have good grip when you approach the final corners of the lap, including the chicane.
“We have to wait and see [though] if the updates will help us to catch up with the guys further up the field,” he added.