Red Bull Racing believes that the Spanish Grand Prix may not provide as good a barometer of form in Formula 1 as it has done in the past - because things are so competitive at the front of the field this year
The aerodynamic demands of the Circuit de Catalunya often means it provides a solid snapshot of the strengths of the teams, and a quick car there frequently proves to be competitive at all types of tracks.
However, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner thinks the situation could be different this year and that what happens at Barcelona may not be representative of the rest of the campaign.
"Usually Barcelona is a pretty good indicator of car performance: if a car works well there it tends to work well in most places," Horner told AUTOSPORT. "Whether that still applies this year, who knows?
"I'm sure most teams are bringing upgrades of varying degree for that Barcelona race. It is the first European race so traditionally that's where teams will introduce new components to their cars and we're no different to that. It will be fascinating to see the evolution amongst the teams."
Horner thinks that the nature of this year's championship is going to be different from previous campaigns - with more teams involved in the battle for victory.
"McLaren came out the blocks very strongly, and certainly the first couple of races they looked very, very competitive, but then suddenly Mercedes turned up in China, and Lotus was strong in Bahrain," he said. "It's moving around a lot.
"Historically McLaren and Ferrari have always been very strong, but the competition is broader this year. Mercedes and Lotus have been strong, plus Sauber came perilously close in Malaysia, and I don't think many would have predicted that."
And although the competitive field and tricky tyre strategies are making it harder for teams to deliver victory, Horner thinks the situation is ultimately good for the sport.
"It's exciting," he said. "I think the races have been very good this year. For us we'd like a boring, dominant championship but from a sporting perspective it's great to have competition, and it is great for there to be so many cars and drivers capable of turning up at a grand prix and capable of winning."
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