• IN WORDS: Three-Way Battle Set to Intensify - Toto

Toto's expecting the fierce battle at the front of the field to continue at Round 5 of the 2018 Formula One season in Barcelona, Spain.

'Very different challenges'

The next two rounds on the calendar, in Spain and Monaco, feature very different characteristics and are unlike any tracks F1 has visited so far this year.

But, they share one common trait: they are tough to overtake on. This makes qualifying even more crucial, with track position holding that much more importance.

"After an exciting start to 2018 we're now heading into the European season with races like Spain and Monaco that present very different challenges than some of the previous tracks," said Toto.

"Overtaking is difficult in Barcelona and even more so in Monte Carlo, making track position key for a good race result.

"So, every team will work hard to get every last bit of performance out of the car in qualifying."

'First step of the development race'

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is one of the best reference tracks when it comes to aerodynamics and car performance, due to its diverse mix of corners.

Because it puts F1 cars to the ultimate test and conveniently kicks off the European season, it's the perfect opportunity for teams to start fitting significant upgrades to their cars.

Toto's intrigued to see how this might affect the pecking order at the Spanish Grand Prix.

"The European season is also the time when teams start introducing bigger upgrades to their cars," he explained.

"It's the first step of the development race that looks like it could run to the very end of the season.

"It will be interesting to see how much performance the teams can find with their upgrades and what impact those upgrades will have on the team ranking - both at the front and in the midfield."

'Mixed memories'

The team's history at the Spanish GP includes soaring highs and difficult lows. And while Toto is optimistic this year's race will be a positive one, with another three-way battle at the front of the field shaping up, he knows the weekend won't be an easy one.

"Barcelona holds mixed memories for us - a double DNF in 2016, but also a dramatic win for Lewis last year after passing (Sebastian) Vettel on track for the lead," Toto said.

"We're hoping that this year's Spanish Grand Prix will be a good race for us, but we know that it will be tough.

"The first four races indicate very strongly that we will see the three-way battle continue and - if anything - intensify."