Chinese GP: Williams preview

The BMW WilliamsF1 Team heads east next week for the first Formula One Grand Prix ever to be held on Chinese soil. Shanghai's inaugural race marks a move into uncharted territory which will undoubtedly pose an enormous challenge to all the ...

The BMW WilliamsF1 Team heads east next week for the first Formula One Grand Prix ever to be held on Chinese soil. Shanghai's inaugural race marks a move into uncharted territory which will undoubtedly pose an enormous challenge to all the teams.

Ralf Schumacher returns to the cockpit for the Chinese Grand Prix having been declared fit to race following a fourteen week absence from the grid to recover from injuries sustained in the United States Grand Prix.

Juan Pablo Montoya:

"It's difficult to predict anything for China. Everyone is in the same position of not knowing the circuit so it will be a level playing field. It'll just be interesting to see who gets the best set-up on their car in the quickest time possible. Shanghai is another track designed by Hermann Tilke, who did a pretty good job with Bahrain and Malaysia. I hope this circuit will offer plenty of overtaking opportunities which would make an exciting race for the drivers and provide an entertaining show for the public."

"This year there have been a few races where we've narrowly missed out on achieving a better result, so I hope things will turn around for the team in Shanghai. I am flying out to China a few days earlier because of some marketing commitments which will take me to Beijing. I will also be visiting the Great Wall on Monday, a very different way to spend my birthday! I have never been to China before so I am looking forward to having a look around and getting to know such a different culture."

Ralf Schumacher:

"It's good to be back in the car again, especially after such a good three day test. I was very happy to be back on the track at Silverstone and very pleased to find that the car has improved a lot since the last time I drove it. As I expected, I didn't experience any pain in my back at all and I felt ok physically, thanks to the training I'd done over the past couple of months."

"No one knows the Shanghai circuit which makes this race very exciting. It's always fun going to a completely new track because everyone is equal in their lack of knowledge. I've seen the drawings of the circuit and I visited about a year ago but the track wasn't totally finished so there wasn't much to see apart from the buildings and grandstands which were under construction. I will be doing some PR work before flying out to China but then I can't wait to get there and have a good race."

Sam Michael (Technical Director WilliamsF1):

"Formula One has not raced in China or at the Shanghai circuit before so it will undoubtedly present plenty of challenges. The layout of the circuit is unique and it will take a considerable amount of work from the drivers to make sure they learn the circuit as fast as possible during the free practice sessions. Working towards a good mechanical set-up for the slow speed corners will be an important part of the engineers' work."

"Ralf will be back in the car for China, joining team mate Juan Pablo. As the car has changed a lot since he last drove it, Ralf spent three days at Silverstone this week familiarising himself with the new developments. Antonio Pizzonia performed very well in the Grands Prix he drove for the team and more than exceeded expectations."

"From the circuit layout, Shanghai appears to be quite a twisty track, with the majority of the corners being slow speed, although there is a short, high speed section. There are three straight sections that may offer the opportunity to overtake, however, I think it will be difficult without a large differential in car performance. The firstcorner continues to tighten up on itself which will make the start of the race interesting."

"We have some further aero improvements for the cars since the last Grand Prix and Michelin will bring two known tyre choices. Selecting the correct tyre will be the main task for Friday practice, something that will be made more difficult because we have no track data. Strategy may be different to the recent trend of three short stint stops because the pit lane loss, fuel penalty and tyre degradation are unknown until we have done some running on the Friday."

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):

"The race in Shanghai will be extremely interesting for Formula One and, of course, for BMW as well. China has a population of 1.3 billion, many of whom will experience Formula One for the very first time next weekend, so I am very interested to see what effect Formula One has on the country, particularly because the use of cars in sport is largely a new concept."

"For BMW, China is currently the strongest growth market with a huge potential. BMW produces cars in China and is already extremely well established in the luxury market. With the launch of Formula One, BMW's core values of dynamism and technological competence will now take centre stage."

"The layout and facilities of the new circuit will arguably surpass anything we have seen before. It will also pose a considerable challenge to the BMW P84 engine. There are two long straights, and air temperatures can easily exceed 30°C. In the last two races we were within the grasp of a podium position and, with Juan Pablo making it onto the front row of the grid at Monza, we have shown that we have taken a leap forward."

"For all the teams, this trip to China's east coast is a major a logistical challenge. We are looking forward to the first Chinese Grand Prix with a great deal of curiosity and hope that we will be returning home not just with new impressions but with some championship points as well."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Williams