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 braking 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 amongst whom there are many Valtteri Bottas supporting Finns.
On the back of a very hot race in Malaysia, we head to China where we are expecting considerably different conditions. It is often a struggle to get the temperature in to the tyres for qualifying, and you then have to manage front left tyre degradation in the race. That struggle will be even tougher this year with the improved rear Pirelli construction. It’s a challenging circuit, with a tough left hander before one of the longest straights on the calendar. The turn 1, 2, 3 complex is also very interesting and offers a good technical challenge. There are two different techniques here for a quick qualifying lap and a quick race lap, so we will work through these early in the weekend to be prepared. We have a few upgrades coming to the FW37 that we are expecting to deliver an increase in performance. There is always a high probability of rain, so we will also need to be prepared for this possible curveball.
China is a similar track to Barcelona where we have conducted most of our pre-season testing, so we have a lot of data that can assist us in setting up the car. The track is harsh on the front tyres, often resulting in graining. It’s a good circuit, and you will always see overtaking there due to the long straight, which has the added DRS effect as well.
China is a good fun circuit to drive. The long and high speed corners give it a good character, plus it has a very long back straight which aids overtaking and makes the races more interesting. There is a lot of support for the Finns in China which is great to see and they are passionate about Formula One too.