Thursday, April 11, 2013


Ah yes, the race weekend is nearly upon us. The long 3 week wait is almost over. Now we'll have 2 races back to back, after Shanghai it will be Bahrain (hopefully). This coming Chinese GP will be the 10th edition, that was fast, didn't feel like 10 years already.

The Chinese Grand Prix is currently held at the Shanghai International Circuit, designed by Hermann Tilke. When completed in 2004, it was the biggest and most expensive Formula One circuit facility, costing USD240 million. The track is 5.451 km long and features one of the trickiest corners combinations on the Formula One calendar, comparable to that of Istanbul Park's turn 8, also designed by Tilke. Turn 1 and 2 in sector 1 are a very demanding 270 degree, right-handed corner combination that requires a lot of speed whilst entering and it tightens up towards the end.

Sector two features Shanghai’s only medium and high-speed corners, Turns 7 & 8, as well as a pair of slow left handers. Then Sector three is a long sector with three tight corners and one of the longest straights on the F1 calendar.


Circuit Length : 5.45 kilometres
Race distance : 56 laps = 305 kilometres
16 corners in total, a mixture of slow, medium and fast
Aerodynamic setup – Medium/high downforce
Top speed : 322km/h (with Drag Reduction System on rear wing) – 310km/h without
Full throttle : 55% of the lap
Total fuel needed for race distance : 148 kilos
Time spent braking : 14% of the lap (8 braking zones)
Brake wear : Medium
Loss time for a Pit stop : 17.5 seconds
Total time needed for pit stop : 21 seconds
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.34 seconds (average)
Fuel consumption : 2.55 kg/lap
Track capacity : 200,000
Lap record : 1:32.238 (Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 2004)


This year there will be an additional DRS zone with the second one being placed on the main straight. The kilometre-long back straight between Turns 13 and 14 will feature for the third season in a row and the detection point will once again be midway through Turn 12. A second detection line will be just before the entry to Turn 16 with the DRS zone situated on the start-finish straight and, as per regulations, drivers will only be able to use DRS in the dedicated zones during practice and qualifying.


It is usually overcast and cold in Shanghai and rain is quite common. The 2010 event was held in wet conditions, as was the 2009 edition. The race starts at 1500hrs local time. The ambient temperatures are forecast to be around 18-20 degrees, quite low by F1 standards. For the weather forecast for this weekend,  it is forecasted to be sunny but you never know. See HERE.


Pirelli has nominated the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tires for China, the first time that this combination makes an appearance this year. The single step between compounds should mean a performance difference of around 0.5secs per lap.

China is well-known for its smooth and sweeping track layout with moderate ambient and track temperatures, which makes it ideal territory for this combination. The flexibility of the medium and soft compounds also mean that several strategies are open to the teams and in the past the top positions have been decided through the use of extremely wide-ranging race tactics. Rain - a notable feature of the first two races held so far this year - is also not an uncommon occurrence in China, so we could see the appearance of the Cinturato Green intermediate and Cinturato Blue full wet tyres once more.

Paul Hembery:
"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 tires. Shanghai is less aggressive on the tires 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 tires from the very beginning of the weekend in order to spring a surprise. That goes to show exactly what is possible with the correct tire management at this point in the season."
Jean Alesi, Pirelli brand ambassador:
"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 tire 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. I raced through many different tire regulations and suppliers during my career - even in the era of qualifying tires - and while they all had different aspects, Pirelli is the company that has supplied the most entertainment to all the fans: so far we have seen two fantastic races. This is exactly what was asked, and in my opinion just what the sport needed. One thing that doesn't change at all is that the best teams will always be the most successful, so there is no point for anybody to complain because this will always quite rightly be the case, whatever you do with the regulations."
2012 winner, his first in F1


The chance of a safety car at Shanghai is reasonably high, at 43% and there is an average of 0.7 safety cars per race. In the 2005 and 2010 races there were 2 safety car periods.

So there you have it. The Shanghai track based on the simulator I've tried is an "OK" track to drive, not really boring. Past races have tended to be a bit boring because the nature of the wide and long track tends to spread out the field pretty quickly within the first few laps so you won't see cars battling each other into lap 3 or 4. But then again, this year we do have the newest Pirellis and you never know. Looking forward to an exciting race.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my t-shirt design below for last years' winner Nico Rosberg.

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