Fine China: What we’re saying about the Chinese Grand Prix
2012 Formula 1 UBS Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai International Circuit, Jiading District, Shanghai
13-14-15 April 2012
All you need to know >>> Race date 15 April…Laps 56…Circuit length 5.451km…Race distance 305.066km…First F1 race 2004…Grands Prix hosted – 8 to date. Turns 16 – 7 left, 9 right…Direction clockwise…Circuit hallmarks – wildly changing acceleration and deceleration within a variety of winding turns tough on car and driver, long back straight pushes the engine hard… Pirelli P Zero White medium tyre makes 3rd appearance in as many races, joined by P Zero Yellow soft making its 2nd… Track designed by Hermann Tilke and features his trademark long back straight followed by a hairpin…Cars can easily surpass 300km/h (186 mph) on this straight, which at 1170m is one of the longest in F1 – the length of 11 football pitches…Track layout inspired by the Chinese character Shang, the first character in the name of the city Shanghai, meaning “above” or “ascend”…Fact: 2012 is the Year of the Dragon!…
Despite the relative luxury of a three-week break so early in the season, the Marussia F1 Team are ready to go racing again as the first members of the team begin the long journey back east, this time to the People’s Republic of China.
The frankly enormous city of Shanghai, with its estimated population of around 23 million, plays host to Round 3 of the FIA Formula 1™ World Championship. The Marussia F1 Team will be looking to consolidate a very positive start to the season at the architecturally impressive Shanghai International Circuit, which was designed to be the race circuit for the new millennium and which, eight years on, continues to set the standard.
Where we’ve been to…
The three week break between Malaysia and China could not have been more welcome for the Marussia F1 Team. After a frenetic pre-season had rolled straight into the season, it was good for everyone to stop and draw breath as John Booth, Team Principal, comments:
“After such a busy but positive start to the season with the opening two races, it has been good to have some time to take stock and gather ourselves, ready for the challenge of the next important phase. Our objective now is to maintain the momentum, so it has been full steam ahead in terms of our development programme. The starting point for that was the significant amount of data we had been able to gather in Melbourne and Sepang and while the race team have had the chance for some rest during the break, it has been quite the opposite for the technical team back in Banbury, who have been evaluating our findings and feeding them back into the cycle, including the continuation of our wind tunnel programme. We have some aerodynamic and systems refinements for the MR01 in China, ahead of a more substantial upgrade for the start of the European season next month.”
Where we’re heading…
The Shanghai International Circuit is one of Timo Glock’s favourites, as he tells us here:
“Shanghai is a really special circuit. It has a very long straight and a very difficult turn one which is very quick on entry and tight through the whole corner. It’s very long and demanding for the front left tyre, so a real challenge for Pirelli in determining the tyre choice. It’s difficult to make predictions for this race because I’ve known it to be pretty cold and sometimes very wet, so you never quite know what is going to happen and so much depends on the weather here. It’s nice to have had a break as it gave us some time to go through the vast amount of data we got in quite a short space of time with the new car. This gives us the opportunity to try some new things for China and, hopefully, continue to take positive steps forward. I like this race so I’m looking forward to it and to seeing where we stand next weekend.”
It’s yet another new challenge for Charles Pic as he prepares to race on his third consecutive ‘unknown’ circuit. Bahrain and the European season will take him into territory more familiar from his GP2 career. So far, he’s shown that he is more than up to the challenge:
“I’m quite happy with the way I got up to speed with the first two circuits, despite never having raced there before. The weather makes the acclimatisation a little more difficult, but in the dry it doesn’t take very long to find a good rhythm. It has been good to look back at my data from Australia and Malaysia and see where we can continue to improve. I’ve prepared in the simulator as much as I can during the break. I’ve also spent some time in the factory working with the team and my relationship with the engineers is developing very well. The Shanghai circuit is quite challenging and I’m really looking forward to driving it properly for the first time. Everyone in the team is pushing really hard to keep moving in a positive direction, so I hope we can show more of the car’s potential next weekend.”