Chinese Grand PrixView

By on Thursday, April 17, 2014
Marussia F1 Team

Marussia F1 Team

Formula 1 resumes this weekend with round four of the championship at the Shanghai International Circuit, a modern and very technical track with a mixture of high and low speed corners – a different proposition to Sakhir.

That race in Bahrain was dominated by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg who put on a thrilling battle to the chequered flag. Up to 20 seconds behind the Mercedes duo came Sergio Pérez, who claimed Force India’s first podium for almost five years.

So forget about dodgy noses and questionable sounds; Bahrain showed us that 2014-spec Formula 1 can put on a cracker of a race

The track

The Chinese Grand Prix joined the Formula 1 calendar in 2004 and the inaugural race was won by Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello.

The driver starting from pole position at Shanghai has only failed to finish on the podium twice, while five of the 10 events held to date have been won by the man on pole. There are eight different winners in China, with Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso being the only multiple victors. The 2007 event saw Kimi Räikkönen take Ferrari’s 200th victory in Formula 1 while Rosberg’s 2012 victory was Mercedes’ first win as a manufacturer since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix.

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

The 5.4 km long circuit consists of six high speed stretches, four slow turns, three ideal spots for overtaking and large run-off areas which ensure safety. It is a technical track which brings different challenges than those offered up in Bahrain. The cars need to have good balance and a lot of grip, on a circuit where wind and changeable weather can also have a big influence on the results. The track is not particularly severe for brakes as the heavy braking zones are well spread over a lap, giving the discs and pads enough time to cool down.

"Shanghai is a very open, very wide circuit but it does flow nicely and the middle sector is a lot of fun,” says Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. “The back straight provides a good overtaking opportunity into the hairpin but it is quite long; I always think back to when I came here as a kid in Formula BMW – massive hair and lots of enthusiasm – and trust me, then, it was the sort of straight where I’d have definitely been reaching for a book if I’d had one! It’s a bit different driving it in an F1 car. The circuit has a decent mix of low- and high-speed corners and one of the key things is to have a set-up that gives you good traction out of the two tight ‘snail’ corners."

Only routine maintenance has been made to the circuit since 2013, meaning that there are no major changes

The race

Scuderia Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari

Pirelli has nominated the medium and soft tyres for this weekend’s race at a track where the asphalt is not too aggressive and temperatures are not really high.

DRS zones in China are the same as last year: on the back straight and pit straight, with the detection points at Turn 12 and before Turn 16, and the activation points before Turn 14 and after Turn 16.

None of the rookies on the grid have any experience on this track. It will also be ‘a first’ for the former ALMS and Le Mans racer Adrián Fernández, who will be the FIA's driver steward this weekend.

Rosberg leads Hamilton in the Drivers’ Standings by 11 points and has a big motivation to take revenge after Bahrain by scoring his second victory in China. On the other hand, Hamilton will be seeking for his first hat-trick of wins, having claimed wins in Malaysia and Bahrain so far this season.

As for the Constructors’ Championship Mercedes has almost three times more points than the team on second place, Force India, who pushed McLaren down to third after Bahrain and now lead them by a single point. Max Chilton’s 13th finish position at Sakhir helped Marussia to get the tenth place back from Caterham.

Timetable (GMT+8)

Friday 18 April

  • Practice One: 10:00 - 11:30
  • Practice Two: 14:00 - 15:30

Saturday 19 April

  • Practice Three: 11:00 - 12:00
  • Qualifying: 14:00

Sunday 20 April

  • Race: 15:00

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