Chinese GP: Sauber preview

With the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai on 26 September Team Sauber Petronas starts the season's finish. Willy Rampf (Technical Director): "Shanghai is a new circuit for everyone, but of course we have done a lot of computer...

With the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai on 26 September Team Sauber Petronas starts the season's finish.

Willy Rampf (Technical Director):

"Shanghai is a new circuit for everyone, but of course we have done a lot of computer simulation created from the information we have received of the layout. We base all of our preliminary set-up on this - the level of downforce, the cooling requirement, the brake specification, things like that."

"We start by working out the theoretical ideal lines on the map and then begin the simulation of the lap times. We run through various possible set-ups and work out our options. There has been a very good correlation between our previous simulation work and real lap times, to the point where we rarely have to change the gear ratios, for example, and normally the data we gather this way is pretty accurate as a starting point for the weekend. We also input the recommended data from Bridgestone relating to the tyre compound and construction and do comparisons with similar tracks with which we are familiar."

"Shanghai will be a high downforce circuit even with its long straights, and cooling will be crucial due to the expected high ambient and track temperatures. It's an interesting circuit layout where the drivers will have to brake as they turn into the long corners, so brake stability and controllability will play a key role. We will find out factors such as brake wear once we have started running, when we will fine-tune the mechanical set-up. Things such as that, together with the bumpiness of the track are what you find out then."

"Although the main thrust of our aerodynamic work will now be on the forthcoming C24 for 2005, I am confident that the C23 will be strong this weekend."

Giancarlo Fisichella (138 GPs, 19 points 2004): "

I've been lucky to go to quite a few new circuits in my career, such as Malaysia, Indianapolis and Bahrain, so now I am really looking forward to Shanghai, especially as China is a new country for me to visit, too."

"I never have any trouble learning a new track, but it's important to walk round it the day before practice and maybe to do some laps on a bike, not just to see which way it goes but where the kerbs are and what shape they are, what surface changes there are in the braking areas, how big the run-off areas are, things like that. "Shanghai looks like a good circuit, interesting and very challenging. We can do well there with the Sauber Petronas C23."

Felipe Massa (31 GPs, 10 points 2004):

"I went to China earlier this year for our demonstration run, and though we ran in the city and not at the Shanghai track itself, I got a real feeling for the atmosphere we will have this weekend. The interest in the race is huge!"

"I haven't seen the track first-hand yet, but I am familiar with its layout from our maps and computer simulation and it doesn't take me long to learn new venues. The infrastructure seems fantastic, very modern like Sepang and Sakhir, and the track seems a little bit of a mixture of both of them. I think it will be quicker than Bahrain, which will be good. That should suit the C23 well, so I believe we can challenge for more points this weekend."

-sauber-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Felipe Massa
Teams Sauber