Brawn: Shanghai to be much cooler now
Just six months after Formula One's last visit to China, the sport's calendar returns to Shanghai this week for Round Three of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship. Earlier in the season than its traditional autumn date, this year's Chinese Grand Prix will take place on Sunday 19 April at the Shanghai International Circuit, located 40kms from the city.
The spectacular venue which hosts the 5.451km (3.387 mile) race track was designed by renowned Formula One architect Hermann Tilke and hosted its first Grand Prix in September 2004. The inaugural race was dominated by Brawn GP's current drivers Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button who finished first and second respectively.
The circuit layout follows the shape of the Chinese character 'shang' and is technically challenging with a combination of straights, including the long 1.1km back straight, and a range of differing speed corners from the long and tightening turns one to three to the fast left-right chicane at turns seven and eight. The layout of the circuit offers excellent overtaking opportunities which combined with unpredictable weather frequently creates an exciting race.
ROSS BRAWN, TEAM PRINCIPAL
Q. Following such an exciting start to the season, what has been the focus for the team during the short break?
"It has been an incredible five weeks for the Brawn GP team which began with the first running of our new car at Silverstone on 6 March and concluded with the two successive victories in Australia and Malaysia. Without doubt it has been an intense and hard-working period for everyone involved with the team and they deserve all credit for their commitment. The short break between the two sets of back-to-back flyaway races has been a welcome opportunity for the team to regroup at the factory in Brackley, to assess our performance and to plan ahead for the forthcoming races. Whilst there have been no developments to the car, we have taken the opportunity to address a few small issues which arose over the first two races and we are in good shape for the next race in China. We are expecting temperatures will be cooler and less humid this year with the race taking place six months earlier. Therefore as was the case in Malaysia, we will need to be prepared for the unexpected as rain has played its part in recent races at the Shanghai International Circuit."
Q. What are your thoughts ahead of the third race of the season in China?
"After the excitement of the first two races, it has been great to have the chance to relax and reflect for a few days since the dramatic race in Malaysia. I am understandably delighted with how our season has begun however we are only two races in and everyone at the team is aware that our competitors will not stand still. We fully expect a tough fight from here if we want to continue our early successes. Looking ahead to next weekend, 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."
Q. How do you expect the BGP 001 to perform around the Shanghai International Circuit?
"It seems strange to be returning to China already but I'm looking forward to the weekend as Shanghai is an impressive facility and the circuit provides an interesting challenge for the drivers. The track holds some good memories for me as I won the first race here in 2004. With the car that we have this year, it is so exciting to be able to return with the opportunity to compete at the front again. The BGP 001 has gone well at the two very different race tracks in Australia and Malaysia so it will be interesting to see how the car performs in Shanghai which is quite a unique circuit. You need to have a very good aerodynamic balance combined with a stable car and good straight-line speed to take advantage of the long straights."
Shanghai International Circuit Stats
Circuit Length: 5.451km
Race Distance: 305.066km
Number of Laps: 56
Full Throttle: 55%
Brake Wear: Medium
Tire Compounds: Super Soft / Medium
Downforce Level: Medium 7/10
Tire Usage: Medium
Average Speed: 203kph (126mph)