Pierre Gasly admits that the Spanish Grand Prix could be a crucial weekend in figuring out where AlphaTauri place in the tight midfield battle.
The Red Bull sister outfit currently sit P7 in the Constructors' Championship with 16 points, just one point ahead of Haas in eighth.
With not much to spare between the teams in the middle of the pack, Gasly feels that F1's return to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will be important in deciphering the pecking order.
"Now we come to Barcelona, the sixth race of the season, where I finished ninth in 2020 and 10th last year," Gasly said in AlphaTauri's preview of the race.
"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.
"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."
Why qualifying will be vital for AlphaTauri
Given how close the competition is in the midfield, Gasly thinks that qualifying will be especially vital for AlphaTauri in Barcelona, particularly due to the track's reputation for being challenging to overtake on.
"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," the Frenchman added.
"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 10 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."
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Barcelona could be "real test" for AlphaTauri car
Gasly's teammate, Yuki Tsunoda, is hopeful that the team can perform well in Spain, but admits that it could be a "test" for the AT03.
"It is a very technical track with a wide range of different types of corners and speeds, high, medium and low," Tsunoda explained.
"It is a real test of the car. All the teams know the track very well, so I expect it will be very tight in the midfield where we are racing, and I am confident we can perform quite well this weekend.
"However, I think we still need more car development before we can race really consistently every weekend.
"I think we can make progress in Barcelona, hopefully have a good result, ending in the points, but I am not expecting it to be easy."
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