Chinese GP: Michelin preview

Formula One breaks fresh ground this weekend as China prepares to stage its first world championship grand prix. The state-of-the-art, 5.451-kilometre (3.387-mile) Shanghai International Circuit is the second new venue to appear on the 2004 ...

Formula One breaks fresh ground this weekend as China prepares to stage its first world championship grand prix. The state-of-the-art, 5.451-kilometre (3.387-mile) Shanghai International Circuit is the second new venue to appear on the 2004 calendar, after Bahrain.

The SIC's corners present a range of low-, medium- and high-speed challenges and the longest straight - which is more than a kilometre in length - runs between Turns 13 and 14. The race is scheduled to last 56 laps - a total distance of 305.256 kilometres (189.677 miles).

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:

"It is always challenging to travel to a race with a very limited databank. Like Bahrain earlier this season, Shanghai will highlight the ability of Formula One teams and their suppliers to stage accurate simulation tests and react to them appropriately. The circuit layout looks interesting - and some of the slower sections appear very technical. I am confident that we are as well - prepared as it is possible to be and look forward to sampling what promises to be an impressive new facility."

Pascal Vasselon, Michelin F1 programme manager:

"Given our experience in Bahrain earlier this year, choosing tyres for a previously unknown circuit such as Shanghai might appear quite routine - but that's not the case at all. Certain corners at Shanghai have a uniquie configuration and two of them - which have an almost snail-like profile when viewed from above - are likely to put a greater load on tyres than anywhere else on the calendar. Generally, we expect the rate of wear to be fairly even left to right and front to rear, which makes things a little bit easier."

"From what we can see, the track surface looks fairly smooth and non-abrasive - another little difficulty we had to factor in when finalising the best tyre compromise. When you encounter a new circuit like this, with lots of directional changes, it is best to select compounds that have a slightly broader operational spectrum than usual. And to further minimise any risk of error, we will be taking tyres that have previously been used in racing conditions."

Team perspective:

Mike Gascoyne, technical director (chassis), Panasonic Toyota Racing:

"Going to a new circuit is obviously difficult, because we have no previous data to call on, but at the same time it is enjoyable because it presents us with a fresh challenge."

"We have cutting-edge predictive tools that enable us to do detailed simulation work, although it is impossible to gauge things with absolute accuracy. We can use computers to work out an ideal line, for instance, but in reality that might change because drivers are able to use a little more kerb than we anticipated. That's the kind of thing we won't know until we get to Shanghai."

"As with all Michelin's partner teams, we exchange simulation data with Clermont-Ferrand and there is a constant two-way information flow as we try to work towards the best solution in terms of tyre choice. It's a fascinating, rewarding process and the team is approaching the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix with confidence."

-michelin-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mike Gascoyne