My thoughts are with the family and friends of the marshal after Montreal, it is obviously more important than the great race we witnessed yesterday; and while the risk for everyone involved in F1 and motorsport in general is always there, hopefully an event like this will not occur again.
Quick question: should I stay up and watch the Formula One practices (0300 and 0700 if I’m not mistaken)? I have essays to do, and I do miss sleeping a little bit - help me?
Q: Usually you are perceived as the good guy, and now reading the media it looks like you are the bad guy after what happened with Mark Webber in Malaysia. What is your opinion on this?
Sebastian Vettel: I personally don’t consider myself as the bad guy in this situation, as I don’t think that I did something that in particular could be rated as bad. I think I said more-or-less everything after the race, and I apologised to the team, which was important to me. Also I took the opportunity to visit the team and explain to them personally what had happened from my point of view.
Q: Helmut Marko has been quoted as saying that there will be no more team orders at Red Bull in the future. Will this make any difference to your job?
SV: I haven’t seen Helmut (Marko) yet, but for me this makes no difference at all.
Q: Mark Webber’s understanding of this situation is that his relationship with the team is alright. How would you describe your relationship with him now, and do you think that, if necessary, you could count on his support in the championship later this season?
SV: To be very honest I think I never had support from his side. I have a lot of support from the team though, and I think that the team is supporting both of us the same way. I do respect him a lot as a racing driver. But also I think there have been a few occasions in the past where he could have chosen to help the team, but he didn’t.
Q: Then it looks a bit like you were paying him back for not helping you when you needed his help in the past…
SV: You could say this in an indirect way, but it was not intentionally on purpose. I was racing, and as a racing driver I was solely focused on winning the race. Then I have received a call on the radio, which I have heard but didn’t really put it into context at the time. I clearly should have understood it, and this is why I have apologized to the team, because with my actions I had put myself above the team, which again was not my intention, as the last thing I want, as being a team member, is to disobey the teams decisions. I have apologized to the team for not following up the team’s decision, and not for winning the race. During the race I felt the pressure coming from behind, with Lewis and Mercedes having had strong race pace, but luckily they went low on fuel and could not push to the end of the race. So I got closer to Mark, and he speeded up again. To be fair, he was even a bit faster towards the end of that stint. At the final stint I was faster than Mark and that was also the reason why I was able to overtake - and let’s not forget that it is not easy to do so in general in Formula One. My thoughts back then were not about getting more points to be able to win another championship at the end of the season, my thoughts were entirely about winning this particular race - in this very moment! In my opinion - as a real racer - you will go for the gap.
Q: You’ve explained that you didn’t understand the ‘Multi 21’ message over the team radio…
SV: The fact is that I heard that over the team radio but didn’t connect it with the situation - whether you believe that or not. I was doing my race and concentrating on winning - and have won. After the race it dawned on me that I interpreted the team radio wrong - and I have apologised.
Q: Had you understood the team order properly, would you have obeyed it?
SV: I am not sure if I can give you a perfect answer on that question. Of course there would have been a conflict, as I am the type of person that respects the team’s decisions, but probably I would have thought that Mark wouldn’t have deserved it at that time.
Q: Ferrari’s Stefano Domenicali said after the race that he has never seen such a miserable podium. Red Bull had bagged 43 points but hung their heads. Shouldn’t the overall team success be the benchmark?
SV: Probably we all have learned from that.
Q: If this kind of situation would occur again, would you make the same decision again?
SV: I am not sure, but probably I would do the same. But generally for the future I wouldn’t say that this is the end of the world. I come to the Formula One paddock every morning because I love what I am doing. I love racing and I love working with the team, and it gives my life so much satisfaction and I cannot think of doing anything else that gives me so much pleasure. Of course there are more difficult times, and there are easier times as well. But I am here to race, and the next time I will be in the car is tomorrow and I am very much looking forward to that.
Q: At the beginning of the race in Malaysia you came in quite early to change from intermediates to dry tyres; whose decision was this and was it a mistake?
SV: This, unfortunately, was my own mistake as it was probably one lap too early. Also I had the gap, so I didn’t really need to be the first one to change. At that time I felt it was the right thing to do. As it turned out, on top of the mistake of coming in too early, I came out in traffic and in the first three turns it was still a bit wet. The other drivers on intermediates passed me straight away, and on the dry parts I was behind them and couldn’t really make use of the dry tyres. The bottom line is that I did lose out too much.
Q: Has there been any internal sanction or punishment against you for what happened in Malaysia?
SV: No, there hasn’t. I do like to deal with these kinds of situations directly and face-to-face. I have always been truthful, and if there is something that I have to talk about or if there is something that I did wrong, I have no problems admitting it. It is for sure not always the easiest thing to do, but this is exactly what I did straight after the race, both to the team and the media. I do see myself as on the same level as anyone else in the team. The team is putting in so much effort to be able to give me a strong car to win races and ultimately trust me and I want to give that trust back as much as I can. Although I have not followed up an order from the team, still Christian Horner is the boss, and he is in control of all the employees and he is the one leading the team.
DRIVERS – Mark WEBBER (Red Bull Racing), Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes), Sergio PEREZ (McLaren), Nico HULKENBERG (Sauber), Romain GROSJEAN (Lotus), Adrian SUTIL (Force India)
Mark, I’m afraid we’re coming to you first. Very smart new haircut, fairly drastic, but I guess that’s the summer haircut is it?
Mark WEBBER: Well, I went to the hairdresser’s and he wanted to talk a lot andI said… I could see that I wanted to get in and out quite quick, so I said just shave it off. When he was half way through before I thought shit, that’s a bit short now… but anyway it doesn’t matter. It’s practical, all good and yeah like you saw a few months too early but back to the old school haircuts. I used to get these when I was younger. Apparently I look younger now too so that’s a good sign.
When we last saw you, you left with quite a few questions being asked within yourself and also of the team as well. Are you quite happy with the way things are now within the team and in your own head?
MW: I’m fine. I was always going to Australia after that race. Obviously it was mentioned after the race in the press conference and people put two and three together and get more information I suppose. It was a little bit of a break for all of us – three weeks, it was Easter as well – so good to go down there for a bit of relaxation after the back of winter testing and the first few races. But you get pretty anxious pretty quickly. I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car here and getting on with the racing again. This track always provides good racing actually. We’ve seen a few (good races) over the last few seasons here, apart from Nico last year obviously when he was very strong off the front, but generally we’ve had some good grands prix here. Looking forward to getting back in the car. Procedurally, the team, everything is fine. Obviously it was a bit of an interesting weekend in Malaysia but, yeah, looking forward to getting racing here.
Let’s move on to this race. How good is the car because obviously you had excellent result, a 1-2, in Malaysia, and also good in Australia? So, how good is the car and what are the chances here?
MW: Yeah, I think we proved the car is pretty competitive at the first two races, not dominating by any means – no one is doing that yet. We know we’ve got work to do. As you say, Melbourne was a pretty competitive outing but the long and short of it is we didn’t have a car good enough to win there but in Malaysia we did – two different situations in terms of track layouts and temperatures and all sorts of things. Here, probably a little bit more back towards the Melbourne window let’s say. So let’s see how the track and the cars, the temperatures, how everything evolves around that great word – the tyres. So that’s going to be important again this weekend. We’ve put a lot of effort in, the guys have been working hard and I’ve been doing a lot of work in the simulator, so ready to go.
Nico you left Malaysia a little frustrated as well. Do you understand the reasons for what happened there and are you happy with them?
Nico ROSBERG: Yeah, we’ve definitely discussed it and it’s all sorted for the future, which is important, so yes.
Well, you had a fantastic race here last year – your first ever pole and your first ever win as well. Testing’s been good, in the two races so far you’ve been competitive, so what chances here?
NR: Yeah really looking forward to this weekend. Massively motivated because I led the race here the last years and finally winning it last year. So this track works really well for me, for the car and I’m convinced I can do a really good result here.
You know what you did right last year and that went on to win you the race, so I guess the thing to do is choose the same set of regulations, the same set-up as last year?
NR: Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy. Thing evolve so quickly – the different tyres we have this year bring us into a whole new situation. So you can’t really compare, you need to take it as it comes and adapt to what you have this weekend. And so, that will be crucial, working through Friday and Saturday morning to try to optimise everything in order to have a great weekend.
Romain, you won your first points here last year with sixth place. What are your feelings after the first two races of this season and looking ahead to this race as well. How do you see the current Lotus?
Romain GROSJEAN: It’s difficult to say before the weekend. We’ve seen that Kimi won in Australia, which was good for the team. It means that the car was able to do it. Then in Malaysia we had a good race from the point where it was dry. We know that when it’s wet it’s not our biggest strength. But here it seems to be dry for the whole weekend, which is a good point. We have a few updates on the car, plus on my side the new exhaust that Kimi ran in KL. So it’s going to be good and looking forward to it. And as you said, it’s good memories here, as I scored my first every point in F1 last year and hopefully some more this year.
You’ve mentioned that the car is very sensitive and sometimes it gives you what you want and sometimes it doesn’t. Are you getting on top of that?
RG: It’s difficult when you’re not in the car to know. I think we have a few ideas of what we need to make sure is right and what can not get right and from there we have a more deep look into it and double check a few things. The tyres don’t make it easier, as they are very, very sensitive to the performance of the car, sometimes a bit too much. But on the other hand it’s the same for everybody, so we do our best. Hopefully updates help us to get on top of it and from there do every good session and see where we are Sunday evening.
Is that the main concentration at the moment?
RG: Yeah. To do the best you can in every single moment of the weekend, starting in Free Practice 1 and finishing after the 55th or 56th lap of the race. You know then you can see where you are. We need to put everything right – tyre window, set-ups, everything together, and see where we finish.
Q: Adrian, you have made an absolutely dream comeback to Formula One. How difficult has it been?
Adrian Sutil: No, not too difficult. I was just driving as fast as I could. I was happy to be back in the car and it worked very well. The car, for my opinion, is very good. It’s the best car I’ve driven. Very neutral balance, quite good on the tyres and the race pace is very competitive. It was just a good start in Melbourne, disappointing in Malaysia because the pace was very, very good again but in qualifying caught out a little bit again with the rain and in the race, well, we saw the problems with the pit stops. But we solved those and we’re confident. I’m confident and go on for the next mission here in China.
Q: The team does seem to have hit the ground running, what do you think is possible with that car?
AS: It’s everything possible. It’s in my hands, I think, so I have targets and try to do my best to reach those. Of course we want to be absolutely on the top, that’s why we’re here and we want to make that happening. But it’s a hard way. We showed it’s possible here and there to make a good result. I think in Australia that was a good start, to lead a race with this car. It’s never easy. Nico did it last year; next race was Australia so two times in a row a Force India led quite a lot of laps in the race. It’s just a sign that with this car there’s definitely much more possible.
AS: Podium is my goal, yes.
Q: Nico, you’ve changed teams from Force India to Sauber but also you have a new inexperienced team-mate as well. How difficult has it been for you moving to a new team and not really having somebody who’s been there for a while?
Nico HÜLKENBERG: Well, I’m not too sure. In every team every driver looks and works for himself. Both drivers obviously work for the team but having Esteban there and he’s a rookie, not long ago I was a rookie, so it’s not a big penalty or big deal. I don’t think it compromises my performance or the team’s performance to be honest.
Q: What have been the positive points of joining Sauber? What’s different, for example, to your previous team?
NH: I can speak my mother language a lot! It’s a new situation: you’re missing quite a few words sometimes, you know, technical words in English but otherwise the teams all work in a very similar way.
Q: Sergio, you obviously made a little bit of progress from Australia to Malaysia. Does that give you a little bit of confidence that you’re going to make more to here as well?
Sergio PÉREZ: Yeah, we are positive. We expect to do progress every single race. I think we can make here make a little bit of progress but the most important is that we can learn a lot this week about the car which will help us for the big update that we are having for Europe. Once we go back to Europe.
Q: Now, obviously there was a lot of pressure on you right from the start of the season, a lot of interesting in you moving to McLaren. Does the fact you’ve had the problems with the car slightly relieve that pressure off you?
SP: I think the pressure is always there. It doesn’t matter in which team you are, you have to deliver results. I want to deliver, I want to take the maximum out of the car and I know that the car will come back and we will be competitive quite soon, so I am confident in that respect. About the pressure, there will be always pressure when you drive for McLaren. Even if you are at the back of the grid you have the pressure to deliver and to try to make the most out of the car that you have.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Bianca Leppert - Auto, Motor und Sport) Nico Rosberg, did you have the thought in any moment at the end of the race in Malaysia to ignore Ross’s words and overtake?
Nico ROSBERG: At the end of the race, I didn’t have that thought, no. I had decided well before to fully respect the instructions that Ross had given me.
Q: (Kate Walker – Girl Racer) Nico, as a follow-up to that question, if you find yourself in a similar situation at this race or any future races are you going to obey team orders, or are you going to rebel and fight for the win?
NR: The difficulty was that we hadn’t really discussed them beforehand, y’know? And so that was the mistake that we did. So, important going forward is that everything is discussed and then whichever way it goes, if I’m in front and Lewis is behind then he will respect it and vice versa. Then it’s OK. As long as one is prepared for it and it’s discussed well and understood, that’s the important thing and that’s the main mistake we did as a team.
Q: (Qian Jun Pro Car) Mark, you are one of four drivers who have attended every one of the ten Chinese Grands Prix. Compared to the first Grand Prix in 2004, can you feel the difference? The atmosphere, races and yourself?
MW: I don’t think the race has changed a huge amount, I think we’ve seen a few more spectators coming over the years. The track itself has always been well-maintained, looked after. It’s a good track for racing, as we say. It has been for quite a few years now. It’s a challenging circuit, it has quite a few different combinations that you’ve got to get right – obviously with a long straight, things like that. It’s a big surprise that we’ve been coming here for ten years, to be honest, it goes very quickly, as usual. It feels like about five but anyway if it’s ten years, it’s ten years but it really doesn’t feel like a huge amount has changed. It was a very good event from the first year and it’s still quite a good event now - obviously apart from the crowds getting better, which is good.
Q: Worth pointing out, Mark, that you’ve finished all nine of them as well.
MW: Hmm, OK, keep going, touch wood and finish the tenth one.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) Mark, can you describe to us how was the period after your experience in the last race, and what do you think about what Sebastian said yesterday in the Infiniti press conference, the interview that he did for Infiniti?
MW: The second part of your question… I don’t know, I don’t know what Sebastian said in the press conference at Infiniti. The other part is yeah… the last part of the Grand Prix is… it’s normal that there’s a lot of emotions going through you because we put a lot of effort in, everybody does, there’s never any guarantees for any Grand Prix victories so if the race is going quite well… still had a good result, obviously, but not the result that I would have liked but in the end, we know what happened. But Malaysia is not just one event in this scenario. We know we’ve had many scenarios in the past, so there’s a lot of things which then come into your mind – positive, negative, whatever – how you can make things better in the future, so for me… yeah, and you’ve still got to drive the car, that’s my job, so I still got the car home, good result and yeah, looking forward to this race. I think it’s normal for a driver to have a lot of emotions in the car generally. You’ve got to try and get the emotions down, but it’s part of our job, whether you’re leading Monte Carlo and finishing the race there with different emotions and different disappointments, ups and downs, it’s completely normal that in the cockpit we have emotions in the cockpit.
Q: (Ian Parkes – Press Association) Mark, when I asked you in Malaysia about your future with the team, bearing in mind what you’ve just spoken about… the emotions going through your head, you said over those closing laps you thought about many many things. I was wondering what you thought about during these past two weeks, what you thought your future might be now; if Red Bull offered you a new contract, would you accept it going forward?
MW: Well, first of all, I’m definitely keen to finish the season off. Obviously a lot of people were even questioning that one which was certainly not something that was in my mind. I’m definitely keen to race this year and put together a very strong campaign and challenge for more wins, and you do enough of that and some more things can happen. So that’s the first goal. The next part is yeah, year by year, that’s how it’s always been for me, so come the summer, I will talk to Dietrich (Mateschitz, Red Bull boss) and then go from there. If I’m driving well, performances are good, then we’ll make some decisions in the future but at the moment, it’s the second or third race and I’ve never ever made decisions on my career at this point in the season and don’t see… obviously it’s a bit of a topic at the moment for different reasons, but I don’t see why I should make any decisions at the moment for the future.
Q: (Trent Price – Richland F1) Question for Nico Hulkenberg: at the end of Sepang, you said on the radio that you had quite a long list of things on which to improve with the Sauber. Three weeks have gone by; have you come up with any solutions since then?
NH: Yeah, well, sure both the team and I aren’t very happy with the recent performance of the car. We know we have to improve and we understand the issue, we know… we’ve identified it but fixing it is now the challenge and it’s up to us. We have some new parts here, some developments which hopefully are going to put us in the right direction but we have work in front of us for sure, yeah. But in the three weeks we have made some progress, for sure.
Q: (Abhishek Takle – Midday) Adrian, obviously you know the car looked very strong in the dry in Australia and Malaysia. Is it the way you are using your tyres? What do you put that down to? And secondly, how important do you think it is right now to maximise the potential of the car, given that you might at some point have to switch your focus to 2014?
AS: Well, we’ve only done two races so we are focused on now. We can improve the car of course; as always, there’s space to improve, I think, even when you’re absolutely at the front. You have to work on, so at the moment the car feels good but here and there we are always bringing some updates to this circuit, to just get more downforce on the car. It’s always the same things that you’re looking at. Why are we competitive at the moment? Probably it’s a combination, it’s a package with the tyres. I just didn’t have as many problems as some others have with these tyres, that’s probably our advantage, so working on the car – every race we are working on it, to maximise the package which is normal in this sport, it’s a performance sport, everyone tries that at every race. Now we’ve just had two races so of course we will concentrate on this car for a long time. I don’t know when we decide to concentrate on the 2014 car. I think it depends on our general performance. If we’re really good in the championship we have to push on until the last race. If not, then maybe it’s more clever to concentrate on next year’s car but it’s too early to say; focus now on the next few races.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Mark, apparently Mr Mateschitz has said that he doesn’t want to hear anything any more about team orders. Knowing that beforehand, does it make life in the cockpit easier or more difficult?
MW: Probably easier, yep.
Q: (Tony Dodgins – Motorsport News) Mark, looking back at that last race, just before the last pit stop, I think you were leading the race by about four and a half seconds if I’m right, and yet Seb had the first stop and that obviously created the situation. Are you free to call your own last stops, was it a team decision and did that surprise you? How did that arise?
MW: Yeah, it was a little bit of a surprise. I think that the gaps were quite awkward, they were trying to manage the gap to Lewis as well which was three seconds. I think Lewis had pitted the previous lap, I’m not exactly sure, but Sebastian was exposed again to going behind Lewis which the team were obviously keen not to have that scenario happen. Four seconds is quite a decent lead but I was already in trouble at the back part of that lap, a little bit with the tyres. Sebastian then obviously had some fresh tyres ready to go and the out lap was strong and my in lap was quick as I could go with what I had so as I said, it dropped him straight back into a tighter situation than had probably been envisaged. Yeah, I asked for that lap, I wanted that lap but I couldn’t have that lap so because of the situation I think if I asked for that lap and got it and Lewis was not there I would have got that lap. So I think it was just a frustrating margin as I think between the three of us it was making it quite tricky in terms of managing that last stop window. But a good question mate, anyway.
Q: (Ben Edwards – BBC) Just to follow up on that one Mark, the decision to change onto slicks in the early part of that race, was that purely your decision as to when to go onto slicks? Was the team involved in that decision at all?
MW: Yeah, I was not keen, I was a little bit surprised when Seb went. The first sector was late in terms of moisture compared to the rest of the circuit. I was definitely keen on the next lap, that they could work and I think we then got some information that it wasn’t quite right. I think lap seven was super conservative but we could, also you could come out in traffic if you pitted like Seb did. And also Nico was quite late and this helps with your slick management of the race as well, so if you’re not losing too much and there’s a bit of a… so there are so many scenarios that you’ve got to look at to say OK, yeah, you’ve got the crossover right but you’ve got more range to do in the race on your dry tyres, so you’ve got to try and factor a lot of that in which is not easy when you’re in the car, obviously, to try and think of all that. I was surprised the slicks didn’t work as well in the first sector as I probably thought they would. Lap seven was OK, yeah.
Q: (Alan Baldwin – Reuters) Adrian, last time you were in China you left in – shall we say – unfortunate circumstances. How do you feel about coming back here and did you have any worries about them letting you in?
AS: No worries, no emotions. The past, for me, is done and I’m concentrating on my future.
Q: (Jonathan Legard – BBC Radio Five Live) Mark, how much have you resolved everything in your own mind over what happened at the last race and how to go forward and I suppose linked in there, is the haircut part of the new mean look?
MW: No, definitely not mate, the haircut’s not… it was a little bit of a screw up. Once he’d started he was on his way. Haircut is not part of the new look or new feel. Going forward, mate, I think we know everything that happened; obviously in Malaysia there was plenty of interest from everyone, other teams, media etc, but for me myself mate, it’s not an unusual situation and I’m looking forward to racing here this weekend and getting on with it. When you’re at the front in Formula One there’s always stuff going down so it just depends on how much is going down that you’ve got to manage. In the end, for me, I’m looking forward to driving the car here, putting in first gear and driving out of the garage and getting down there to feel what the car’s like on the circuit. That’s what I’m looking forward to, mate.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Mark, coming back to the previous questions about what was said yesterday. Vettel said yesterday ‘I can’t apologise for winning because I am paid for that’ so I would like to have your reply about these words and if you’ve already talked about it, I would like to know if before the podium or afterwards at some moment, you thought ‘OK, I want to stop now with this team, I want to leave Formula One to do something very surprising for everybody?’
MW: No. I think the rawest emotion for me was probably the first few laps after we had the race on track. After the podium and on the podium and around there I wasn’t thinking about anything… reacting in a harsh way mentally for myself to think about ‘now I will think about doing something different.’ I wasn’t thinking like that at all. And Seb’s comments? If that’s what he thinks then that’s what he thinks, that’s his position on what happened in Malaysia…
Q: (Ian Parkes – Press Association) Question for Nico Rosberg: I was wondering if, coming away from Malaysia, you were confident in your own mind that there was genuine equality within Mercedes, there was no number one, number two, because it has been suggested now after what happened in Malaysia that Lewis perhaps has number one status?
NR: Very confident, yup. No number one, no number two. Extremely confident. Plus you can also add to that yourself in a few weeks time or months time a question.
After two dramatic rounds of the 2013 Formula One World Championship, Sebastian Vettel takes a nine point advantage at the top to the Shanghai International Circuit in the People’s Republic of China. The 2013 UBS Chinese Grand Prix will be the ninth edition of the race since it appeared on the Formula One calendar in 2004.
The circuit was designed by Hermann Tilke and became part of the Formula One calendar in 2004, the culmination of eighteen months of hard work converting an area of swampland outside the world’s most populous city proper into a state of the art race track. Alongside Bahrain and Malaysia, it was a sign that more expensive new tracks would be appearing on the sport’s radar in years to come.
The complex was described as “a fascinating statement in architecture and many a race track in Europe could learn from it” by BMW’s CEO at the time, Dr. Helmut Panke. While there are many newer tracks now that surpass their standards, at the time China was innovative and a completely different experience.
The importance of Shanghai and China were emphasised by several people before the inaugural race. Norbert Haug described it as “probably the most important race in the history of motorsport“, adding that it was a “new era and I think we will have more spectators worldwide for television than for any race before, especially in America I think there will be a lot mentioned about the race“. These sentiments were typical of the pre-race atmosphere, as China is one of the countries where many more fans could come from, and where many companies could sell their products to.
However, as Formula One is now on its way to becoming firmly established in the country, it might be time for China to become established in F1. A more detailed analysis of their hopes is given below, and the most likely to succeed is Ma Qing Hua, who reiterated what many people have been saying on the subject:
“It’s very difficult, for China, because motor sports is so new for Chinese people. It’s just been around for a few years. Most of the people don’t understand it. The population of motorsports fans is growing but we still need time. But for me, personally, I’m very happy where it’s at. I want to be the person to develop, to introduce F1 to China.“
Maybe, with a few more years and an increase of optimistic Chinese drivers, Formula One’s future in one of the most important countries in the world can be secured.
The design of the circuit is inspired by the Chinese character Shang (上, the first part of the name Shanghai). One of the defining features of this track is the long straight towards the end of the lap, where drivers reach a top speed of around 323 kilometres per hour, and contributes to an average speed of 213 kilometres per hour. The lap starts with a very tight first sector that is tricky to get right, before getting to a faster flowing section of the track in sector two. After the long straight, a tight hairpin directs the drivers back to the pit lane or a tight left hand corner leading to the start line.
59% of the lap is spent on full throttle, while the circuit is one of the easiest of the year on brake wear; both of these can be attributed to the faster parts of sector two and three. It exerts a medium amount of pressure on the engines and gearboxes, but this shouldn’t be an issue for the teams.
Unfortunately for the fans, the majority of the races have been won from pole position, with the polesitter going on to win five times out of the nine occasions F1 has come to the track. Overtaking here can be quite difficult, but the places that the drivers have suggested to keep an eye on are turns four, five, ten and thirteen, with many DRS passes coming at the end of the long straight.
A lap with Mark Webber
Pirelli and China 2013
Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director says: “China has often produced some of the best races of the year, where strategy has been at the forefront of the action. With all our compounds having got softer this year the degradation is deliberately more extreme leading to increased performance, but history has shown that it never takes too long for the teams and drivers to get on top of the tyres.
Shanghai is less aggressive on the tyres than the last round in Malaysia but we would expect to see the majority of competitors go for three stops although some may try two. Last year we had a new winner with Mercedes and Nico Rosberg, who were able to get the most out of their tyres from the very beginning of the weekend in order to spring a surprise. That goes to show exactly what is possible with the correct tyre management at this point in the season.”
This view is supported by Pirelli’s brand ambassador Jean Alesi, who adequately summarises the basic appeal of the track and tyres by adding: “China is a circuit that is again not very typical of the others, and although I never raced there myself, it looks like a great track. From a tyre point of view, the drivers will have to find the best compromise between performance and degradation, which is exactly the way that it has always been in Formula One.”
The tyre from a circuit point of view: China puts plenty of energy through the front tyres in particular, due to the number of high-energy corners – such as turn one, which is almost a full circle – and the heavy braking areas, which causes weight to transfer towards the front of the car. The most stressed tyre is the front-left, with China featuring the heaviest braking seen all year.
The other key corner from a tyre point of view is turn 13: a long right-hander, just before the main straight, which is slightly banked. The loading on the tyres is steadily increased throughout this corner as the cars accelerate out of it.
Last year, the medium and soft compounds were also chosen for the Chinese Grand Prix. The race winner (Rosberg) adopted a two-stop strategy, starting on the soft and then completing two stints on the medium.
The second and third placed finishers (Button and Hamilton) stopped three times: starting on the soft, changing to the soft again, and then completing two final stints on the medium. The fourth-placed driver (Webber) also stopped three times but did just one stint on the softs followed by three on the medium, while the fifth-placed finisher (Vettel) stopped twice on a similar strategy to Rosberg.
Technical tyre notes: The medium compound, with its low working range, is expected to have a good warm-up even in low temperatures, guaranteeing better consistency of performance and more contained degradation. The soft tyre, with a higher working range, works in a different way.
In cold atmospheric conditions it takes slightly longer to warm up, especially at the front. But it will then ensure stronger grip with more accentuated degradation and a useful working life of around 14 to 16 laps.
The performance gap between the medium and the soft compound in China is expected to be between 0.5s and 0.6s per lap.
Throughout the banked Turn 13, with maximum downforce pushing onto the car, the contact patch of the tyre can increase to twice the size that it is while the car is stationary.
Expected tyre behaviour in 3D:
Lewis Hamilton is the only driver to have won the race on multiple occasions, as he first claimed victory there during the 2008 season in order to extend his lead over Felipe Massa to seven points, a gap that would not be overhauled in the next race in Brazil, while his second race victory there in 2011 was an example of the strategic advantage that could be gained by understanding the Pirelli tyres, introduced that season in order to create more unpredictable racing.
Jenson Button’s 2010 victory compliments McLaren’s record in the race, sharing the achievement of the greatest number of victories at the track with Ferrari, who have overseen Rubens Barrichello’s first place finish in the inaugural event, followed by the same result for Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen in 2005 and 2007 respectively.
Only one driver from China has taken part in any form of official Formula One session, and that honour goes to Ma Qing Hua, who drove in first practice for the late HRT F1 Team on four occasions. This narrowly beats Ho-Pin Tung’s record of being a test driver for the BMW Sauber and Renault F1 teams in 2007 and 2010 respectively, who can be described as the first Chinese person to drive a Formula One car, while Ma Qing Hua can be described as the first Chinese-born driver to do so.
Ho-Pin Tung now competes in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia series (mentioned below), after attempting to break into the United States by becoming the first holder of Chinese nationality to drive in an IndyCar race, finishing 27th at the 2011 Indy Grand Prix of Somona after previously failing to qualify for the 2011 Indianapolis 500.
Ma Qing Hua’s participation in Formula One has been limited to the Young Drivers’ Test at Silverstone last year where he completed enough kilometres to gain a FIA Super License (finishing fourth out of a field comprised of himself, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, and Marussia’s Rio Haryanto and Max Chilton), and four ninety minute practice sessions in Italy, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and the United States, replacing Narain Karthikeyan on every occasion.
Unfortunately, due to being ranked last of all people to set a time in every practice session he competed in, the highest position he has finished a session in was 23rd, a feat he cannot repeat this year due to the grid being comprised of only 22 cars.
However, he can say that he was within the 107% time at most of those practice sessions (with the exception of the United States, where both HRT cars ran as little as possible), and he can point to finishing seventh in the second tier of the 2008 Spanish Formula Three season (18th overall) despite competing in only six out of the nine rounds, and winning the drivers’ championship (1600cc class) of the 2011 Chinese Touring Car Championship.
While these achievements can be easily undermined, he is now a test driver for Caterham, and also competes in the team’s GP2 operation alongside Spaniard Sergio Canamasas, so it will be easier to see his talent shine through on that stage. After one round, he has recorded a 21st place finish after starting from 19th, but was unable to start the second race due to gastroenteritis. Before he competes again in Bahrain next week, he will participate in first practice for the Chinese Grand Prix for Caterham.
2004 – The inaugural race saw a three way battle for the race win from Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen, with the Brazilian eventually ending up on the top step of the podium.
2005 – As this was the final round of the season, Renault secured the constructors’ championship after Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella finished in first and fourth place respectively, while their closest challengers McLaren came nine points short after Raikkonen came second, but Montoya suffered an engine failure after previously hitting an engine cover and bringing out the safety car.
2006 – Michael Schumacher’s final victory in Formula One was at this track, taking advantage of Fisichella’s tyre troubles to take the lead and hold off a late charge from Fernando Alonso.
2007 – Lewis Hamilton led the World Championship by twelve points coming into the penultimate round in China, but due to a team decision to keep him out on a rapidly drying track, his tyres were so worn that he ended up in the gravel while attempting to enter the pit lane. Long story short, he didn’t win the championship that year, due to the dominance of Kimi Raikkonen in the final two races.
2009 – Red Bull Racing took their first pole position and victory at the track thanks to Sebastian Vettel, as Mark Webber followed him to take a one two finish ahead of rivals Brawn GP, who finished third and fourth.
2010 – Notable for Sebastien Buemi’s front wheels coming off as he drove down the main straight in practice, while Jenson Button won the race ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton to achieve the first one two for two British drivers since the 1999 Austrian Grand Prix.
2011 – Lewis Hamilton’s victory after being on a different strategy to Red Bull rival Sebastian Vettel gave us hope that the season would maybe be a tad more competitive than the first two races had indicated – in the end, it wasn’t – while Mark Webber started from 18th on the grid and finished on the podium.
Nico Rosberg was victorious for the first time in Formula One last year in China, and in doing so he took Mercedes’ first pole position and victory since Juan Manuel Fangio’s victory at Monza in 1955.
The race will be supported by the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia series. This follows the first round occurring at the 2013 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix, and it will also be reunited with the Formula One calendar for their ninth round in Singapore, with these races separated by six rounds, shared equally between Zhuhai and Ordos in China, and Autopia, a new circuit in South Korea.
After winning the first race, the current leader of the points standings is Austrian driver Martin Ragginger, who leads his closest challenger Alexandre Imperatori of Switzerland by two points.
The series currently has former F1 test driver Ho-Pin Tung racing there, although he was disqualified in the previous race. Fairuz Fauzy (the Malaysian driver mentioned in the previous circuit profile) also competed in his home race as a guest driver, finishing seventeenth.
Shanghai Results2012Nico RosbergMercedes2011Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes2010Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes2009Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault2008Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes2007Kimi RaikkonenFerrari2006Michael SchumacherFerrari2005Fernando AlonsoRenault2004Rubens BarrichelloFerrari
I don’t know what gif accurately describes how I feel right now, but this will do…
Oh shit… Mark, I respect you a lot for saying that. Horrible interview, but still…
I don’t know what to say about that race. Isn’t it a bit early for team orders?
When people suggested Hamilton would regret leaving McLaren at first and then he would have a more competitive car, I didn’t expect all of that to have happened before qualifying. I’m used to seeing Hamilton near the front, and he is there. I am also used to seeing Button near the front, and he isn’t. If this isn’t a one off, Lewis may be a genius.
[OT] “The Formula One will be here next week, but right now… lets turn this racecourse into a dancefloor.”
Live from Sepang International Circuit, as part of the Future Music Festival Asia and the A State Of Trance 600 Expedition world tour. And apparently, they have done some form of traditional dance to prevent rain, which has been successful since the programme started at 5pm local time (Bernie will not be endorsing any of that shit).
This post is crazy and, to be honest, I don’t understand how I got to this point. I can see why people find it so easy to write stories about their drivers now, this is so strange!
(But I’m posting it anyway because I put more effort into it than I have into anything else all week).
I was just thinking about how Lewis Hamilton was written out of Tooned and replaced by Sergio Perez, and I have come to the conclusion that this is how all driver announcements should be done.
For others, consider the following scenarios:
- Michael Schumacher could suddenly become lost in the desert, and as Nico Rosberg searches for him, he is joined by Lewis Hamilton and his convoy to put together a rescue mission that is ultimately scrapped once they win more than one race in tribute to the missing driver.
- For Sauber, Esteban and Sergio have a fight to determine who is the greatest Mexican in a Formula One car, and the winner is allowed to drive for the team, while Kamui Kobayashi is forced to leave to go to his home planet of Overtakingville and is replaced by a new spaceman - Nico Hulkenberg of Extreme-consistency-land.
- I imagine Force India’s version to be like a catwalk - every available driver takes a turn walking down it, before Vijay Mallya and Paul di Resta choose Adrian Sutil to be Force India’s Next Top Driver.
- Williams will probably involve seeing Pastor Maldonado as some form of God-like character, and then after Bruno Senna resigns from his post, white smoke appears from Oxfordshire and Valtteri Bottas is chosen to be the representative of our lord and saviour Maldonado.
- It is just another day in Caterham’s factory, when suddenly a large vat of toxic green paint is spilled, changing the colour of the car and giving Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov superpowers. But, in order to hide their new skills from the rest of the world and incur great jealousy, they are given new identities - Guido van der Garde and Charles Pic- and told to fight crime on the streets of nineteen countries throughout the world.
- Timo Glock is wounded in a brave but unsuccessful attempt to fight the Caterham spaceship, and in order to survive, he regenerates into a younger form, who will henceforth be known as Max Chilton. When he befriends a companion from Brazil, he has no idea that Razia will be struck down by misfortune at the hands of the global financial crisis, and is replaced by Bianchi in order to deal with the feelings of regret of seeing another companion leave him behind.
- More money has been spent on the HRT F112 than ever before. Their owners claim that it can travel from Melbourne to Sao Paulo in a quicker and more luxurious way than any ship ever has before. Headed by captain Narain Karthikeyan, the ship sets sail towards Brazil. Seconds before it leaves, an enthusiastic man called Pedro de la Rosa wins a game of cards with his compatriot and friend Dani Clos, and they run aboard the ship to start a new life in South America. However, while aboard, de la Rosa is stunned by the beauty of Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua, and stops him jumping off the edge of a boat. For this, the Spaniard is repaid by being invited to dinner with Qing Hua’s family, but is warned by Mr. Ecclestone, who has arranged to marry the Chinese man in order to spread wealth throughout the F1 Empire, and is looked down on by him. In the deck for people who started their career in radio-controlled cars, de la Rosa’s passion for Ma Qing Hua emerges, and they begin a happy relationship together on the boat, but with suspicion from Mr. E. When the ship runs into the iceberg of financial difficulties, the ship is found to be running at 50% of its lifeboat quota, and even these are being launched half-full for people who want to escape the cold, choppy waters of debt caused by the Thesan Capital weather system interfering. Stories would be told of the captain locking himself in the cabin and waiting until the end, while The Chain is being played by a string quartet nearby. Ma Qing Hua would be told to get on a lifeboat, but chooses instead to stay with Pedro de la Rosa and incur the wrath of Bernie. As the front wing slowly drifts apart from the rear wing, the couple hang on for their lives after saving themselves from the Bernie’s revenge, but their plunge into the icy waters nearby leaves them scared. As a honourable gentleman, de la Rosa offers the young and gracious Ma Qing Hua a place on a small floating piece of carbon fibre, but makes the Chinese driver promise not to let go of him, so that they can be together forever. During the night, Pedro’s career would suffer too much damage, and therefore Qing Hua lets go in order to attract the attention of the nearby ship ‘HMS Caterham’, and would start a new life there, having learned the lessons of Pedro and would remember the times upon the HRT F112 with fondness, and would go on to live a full career in the new lands of Formula One.
Sky Sports F1 - Day 2 coverage.
I fell asleep when watching this live, so I watched it at four in the morning when I got back from a nightclub. Come to think of it, I don’t remember much of it, but it was clearly good!
By the way, while I do believe in free speech, if you do feel the need to submit something to dirtyformula1confessions then I strongly suggest that you should re-evaluate the purpose of your tumblr account. I’m not stopping you, I’m just saying that it makes me sad.
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