JEAN-ERIC VERGNE (25): ” A very interesting circuit with a wide variety of corners and a really long straight that provides great opportunities for overtaking….”
DANIIL KVYAT (26): “… I hope we can aim for another top ten finish this weekend…”
The track is in the province of Jiading, part of the ever growing sprawl that testifies to China’s incredible economic expansion in recent years.Jiading Province is about 40 minutes drive from the centre of Shanghai and boasts a population of around 1.5 million and covers an area of approximately 464 square kilometres. The Jiading Confucius Temple is one of the best preserved of its type in China, maybe because it has undergone several renovations in its 800 year history.
In the early days of space exploration it was a commonly mentioned fact that the Great Wall of China could be seen from space, well since they built this race track there’s a good chance it could join its more famous and ancient landmark. The facility is huge and you can go all weekend without seeing some of your friends in the paddock. The hospitality areas are built on stilts over water, testament to the marsh land on which the track is constructed. That means the ground underneath the track is not the most solid and so bumps appear under the surface from one year to the next.
Like all modern Tilke-designed tracks, this one boasts the usual combination of all corner types and a very long straight, with the most interesting turn being the very first one, a right hander that goes on forever running into a blind apex. The track is very tough on rear tyres and with all the torque that this year’s cars possess, looking after the rubber will be very important. You’d think lots of pit stops would be the way to go because of tyre wear, but the pit lane is so long it forces strategists to aim for as few stops as possible.
A very interesting circuit with a wide variety of corners and a really long straight that provides great opportunities for overtaking. Doing a qualifying lap here is great fun, dealing with challenges like turn 1, which you approach flat, before the corner just goes on and on. It means it is also demanding on tyres and from a driver’s point of view, it is one of the better ones to drive. However, it’s a shame the circuit is so far away from the city, because we never really get any time to visit what is a fascinating place. So it’s a case of just getting to the track, doing the race and going home.
I’ve never been to China, so I am interested to discover something about this country and also the circuit. I’ve watched lots of Shanghai Formula One races on TV to get an idea of the track and after Bahrain I was also able to drive it on the simulator. I was disappointed to finish just outside the points at the last race and, after learning a lot about the car at the post-Bahrain test, I hope we can aim for another top ten finish this weekend, on what looks like a really challenging track. Away from the circuit, I’ve heard the Chinese fans are very welcoming. I will be interested to try Chinese food too!