Chinese and Bahrain Grands Prix Preview
7th – 9th APRIL
SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT
ROUND 2 OF 20
Aerodynamic performance is tested at the Chinese Grand Prix thanks to the circuit’s 1km back straight and its combination of sweeping turns. The back straight is a great place for overtaking, but not the only opportunity on the track. The layout’s demanding
corners test the Pirelli tyre whilst fans cheer on their heroes in the 24,000 capacity grandstand.
An addition to the calendar in 2004, the first sequence of corners on the track have been described as one of the hardest in Formula One as fast entry speeds are quickly discarded under heavy breaking due to a tightening track for almost 270° before quickly changing direction. The Chinese Grand Prix is host to the continuing growing fan base in Asia.
For China, Pirelli has made available the supersoft, soft and medium tyres.
Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer: “The Shanghai International Circuit is the first track this season which will test the all-round performance of the car and so we will arguably see a truer measure of the relative performance of the cars within the new regulations. It is a great track with some demanding high-speed corners and a long back straight which is traditionally good for overtaking, but requires good set-up to ensure speed can be carried onto the straight. It is great to be heading to China as there is a growing fan base with more local fans each season showing remarkable dedication to the sport. It is also an important race for us understand where we are in the Championship to address the challenges for the season with our continued aim to improve and make progress.”
Felipe Massa: It’s always nice to go to China. I really like the track. It has a very old style, with many high speed corners and one of the longest straights in Formula One. It’s definitely a fun track to drive. I also love the Chinese fans. They have a lot of love and whenever I leave my hotel they’re always outside waiting! So I’m really looking forward to seeing them all again.
Lance Stroll: This will be my first time in mainland China, as in the past I have just been to Macau where I raced in F3. I don’t know a lot about the circuit. I have only done some simulator work on the track, so I still have to wait to see what it is like in reality. However, I have watched some of the races there so have an idea about the scale of the track. After Melbourne, which is a narrow track, I am going to change my approach a bit as it is a little more forgiving with the large run off areas. Having said that, I shall just prepare in the normal way as well as I can for the race.
14th -16th APRIL
BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT
ROUND 3 OF 20
Bahrain led Formula One’s expansion into the Middle East in 2004 and will this year hold its 13th Grand Prix and its fourth as a night race. No longer one of the calendar’s new additions, the Bahrain International Circuit has proved one of the more popular modern-era races and hosts one of the most entertaining Grands Prix of the year. The temperatures, dust and sand around the 5.4km layout present teams with a unique mechanical challenge in which to operate Formula One cars at peak performance.
For Bahrain, Pirelli has made available the supersoft, soft and medium tyres.
Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer: “Bahrain is a great track that has been transformed since becoming a twilight race in 2014, with a great atmosphere in the build up to lights-out, with a magical feel as it ends under the lights as darkness falls. We have seen some very exciting battles on track there between drivers over the years, and this year promises to be no different. It is very tough on brakes so it will be interesting to see how well the teams fare with this generation of faster cars. It can be hot, testing the cooling systems, and the wind and sand can also be a factor, especially during the early parts of the weekend, so it has the ability to be quite a tricky test for both the teams and drivers.”
Felipe Massa: As a track it’s a little bit different to the others. You need to have a car that is strong under braking, which is especially important for this track. You also need a reliable car that has good speed and traction. I really like Bahrain, I’ve won there twice so it’s definitely a place I enjoy going to. I really hope we can have a good race there this year.
Lance Stroll: It will be a pretty heavy schedule to have my first back-to-back races from China to Bahrain. However, Bahrain will be the first track this season that I have driven on before, so that will be a bit of a breather for me. It is a track that has a good flow to it. It can be quite slippery sometimes, as the wind blows the sand over it because it is in the desert. It is a very modern track, but quite bumpy in certain places and, just as with many other circuits, has its challenges. I really enjoyed myself the one time I have been there so I am looking forward to the race. It is definitely one of those desert tracks as there is not much grass, but it is still a cool place. I know there has been some good racing in Bahrain, which is always great.