Formula One makes the short journey from Japan to China this week for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix and the concluding Asian round on the 2008 calendar. The penultimate race of the season takes Formula One to another of Hermann Tilke's signature ...
Formula One makes the short journey from Japan to China this week for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix and the concluding Asian round on the 2008 calendar. The penultimate race of the season takes Formula One to another of Hermann Tilke's signature tracks; located in the north-western suburbs of the city, Shanghai's dramatic 5.4km circuit and associated infrastructure proudly showcases the country's oriental charm to create one of the best facilities the sport visits all season. With the Championship still very much in contention, all eyes will be on China again this weekend.
I like the track in Shanghai, and I like the city, so I'm looking forward to this weekend. I don't have too high an expectation for the race because, like Japan, the circuit doesn't suit our car very well and we're a little bit off the pace. We'll be doing the best we can though, and there's always the possibility of rain in China so you never know what could happen. I had some good fun overtaking in Fuji - Shanghai also has some good places to overtake, so I hope I can have another race like last Sunday. I arrive in Shanghai early, straight after Fuji, so I'll be chilling out and doing a bit of training before another weekend of racing starts.
After my home Grand Prix, it's nice to stay in Asia. I think the race will be a little bit difficult for us because our car doesn't suit the type of circuit very well, but I will do my best, like in Japan. I drove during Friday morning's practice session last year, so at least I'll have a bit of knowledge of the track when I get there, unlike some other venues this season. It's a challenging circuit but I'm looking forward to driving it again. I have some more media and marketing commitments over the three days before the race, so I'll really only have Wednesday evening to relax before heading to the circuit on Thursday.
Sam Michael, Technical Director, Williams F1
Shanghai has a good mix of slow, medium and high speed corners. There are two sections around the circuit where the corners flow smoothly from one to the other, so it's important for the drivers to achieve a good balance early on in the sequence in order to set a good lap time.
Pitstop strategy will most likely be a straightforward two stop option. However, for the last couple of visits to Shanghai, we have had variable weather conditions and that always plays a big part in strategy selection. This year, the race is expected to be dry with temperatures around the 26C mark, but you can never be 100% certain. Bridgestone will bring the hard and medium compound tyres to the race.
Resembling the Chinese symbol for "high", Shanghai's track layout is a demanding mix of straights, turns and hairpins. Over the 5.4km lap, the drivers will negotiate seven left- and seven right hand turns, the tightest of which being turn one, entered into flat out but exited in second as the corner squeezes tighter and tighter before a left-hander into turn two. With so many slow and medium speed corners over one lap, the car must have a perfect balance, achieved through an efficient aero package.
Although dominated by corners, Shanghai also has two long straights (the longest being between turns 13 and 14 which stretches to 1,175m) which will see drivers reach speeds of 327km/h and raise the average lap speed to 205km/h. The engineers must, therefore, provide a set-up which also offers high top speeds and low drag levels without compromising the cornering stability. Similar to Istanbul Park, the track at Shanghai measures, on average, between 13 and 15 metres in width (20 metres at turn 13) so offers ample room for overtaking manoeuvres and the perfect setting for a riveting penultimate round of the Championship.