F1 News, Views and Reviews

2009 Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix Preview

The 3rd round of the 2009 F1 Season is here already, and with all of the action happening between race weekends this season feels like its flying by faster than a turbo fan Brabham with Niki Lauda at the wheel.

The Track

Its hard to believe that the Shanghai International Circuit has been on the calendar since 2004, but the $450million circuit still looks new and fresh today.  Designed by Hermann Tilke in the fashion of the Chinese character “Shang” the track has recieved much criticism and many calls to be thrown off the calendar, including myself .

However it remains, along with the circuit on the MotoGP calendar.

A lap of the track

Power down the main straight, and let the car drift to the left hand side.  A dab of the brakes and two down shifts pulling the car to the right around the hairpin turn 1.  Into turn 2 brake a little more, shifting down again letting the engine brake for itself.  You’re aiming for the kerb on the inside, throw the car across to the other side for tight turn 3, shifting down again into 3rd gear.  Power out on the exit, grabbing the kerb of turn 4.  Flat out through turn 5, a little kink before going downhill into turn 6 which requires a lot of braking.  Again flat out towards 7, a nice long curving corner, before dabbling the brakes through 8 and hard into 9.  Should gently go through 10, before a long run down to Turn 11, which looks like one at Sepang with Turn 12 just after and the long Turn 13, with its banked exit gives plenty of opportunity for acceleration before the long back straight.  Expect KERS runners to be using full power down here.  Hard on the brakes for turn 14, and accelerate through 15, before a tap of the brakes into 16 and power across the line.

Enjoy a lap with Tiago Montiero in the Spyker, not the best lap but a beautiful representation of the circuit.

Pre-Event Thoughts

Kazuki Nakajima (Williams) – “Shanghai is definitely a challenging circuit, but at least I’ve now had some experience of it so it’s not new for me anymore. Last year, we struggled on tracks like China, but now our car is looking quite strong. It’s well balanced in the high and low speed corners so I’m hoping we’ll go much better there this year and I can score my first points of the season.”

Fernando Alonso (Renault) – “It’s definitely a circuit that I enjoy and it’s quite similar to Sepang with some quick corners, long straights and low-speed sections. You therefore have to find a compromise with the set-up to make sure you have enough downforce for the high-speed sections, but also good straight-line speed. I won the race there in 2005 when Renault also won the constructors’ championship so it’s a track with good memories for the team.  I also enjoy being in China and the fans are really enthusiastic about Formula One.”

Adrian Sutil (Force India) – “The aims here in China, as for the previous races, is to be reliable and get to the finish. This year I’ve got a 100% finish record so far, and I want to keep this up. We’ve seen that some of the other teams are having problems with KERS and the order is not so fixed at the moment so if you get to the finish there’s a good chance you could do well. I think this should be our goal for now, but when we get back to Europe I want to be racing on merit, not just waiting for something to happen to another driver.”

Jenson Button (Brawn) – “We fully expect a tough fight from here if we want to continue our early successes. Looking ahead, the Shanghai International Circuit is an enjoyable one for the drivers and a good technical challenge to find the right set-up. I particularly enjoy the high-speed sections and the overtaking opportunities going into the tight right-hander at turn five and at the end of the back straight.”

Jarno Trulli (Toyota) – “I am really optimistic about the Chinese Grand Prix because we have started the season very strongly. It shows how much progress we have made since last season that in Malaysia I was a little disappointed with fourth because I wanted to finish on the podium and fight for the win.  China is one of those circuits where I have never had much luck and it was the same last year when I was hit from behind at the first corner, so I’m determined to have a better weekend this time.”

Pre-Event Photos











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