2008 Chinese Formula 1 GP – Wolf’s Race Preview

Shanghai F1 Track - Ultramodern but where are the crowds ?

Shanghai F1 Track - Ultramodern but where are the crowds ?

The 2008 Formula 1 season is reaching its climax. It is time for the Chinese Grand Prix. The last 2 Shanghai races were affected by rain. Both started wet but later turned dry. Ferrari mastered these conditions best taking advantage of bad tyre calls by the main competitors. In 2006 the looser was Fernando Alonso (although he still finihed and podium and later went on to win the championship), the winner Michael Schumacher. In 2007 it was Lewis Hamilton who suffered on the drying track and after delaying his pit stop for at lest a lap too long he beached the car in gravel at the pit lane entry. He could have claimed the title in Shanghai. Instead he started his great title giveaway. Again there was a Ferrari car to take the advantage, Kimi Raikkonen’s win in Shanghai set up that exciting grand finale in Brazil … Ferrari also won the inaugural Chinese GP in 2004 when Rubens Barrichello dominated the weekend. While we are talking about Ferrari, Schumacher and Barrichello – both these drivers scored their final F1 wins on this track (although Barrichello may still in theory win some F1 race). The only non Ferrari win in Shanghai so far was Fernando Alonso with Renault in 2005.


Same as a year ago Lewis Hamilton has an opportunity to seal the drivers title on the Shanghai track. The difference is that last year he had everything in his own hands. This year he can eliminate Robert Kubica from the contention but to claim the title he would need some “assistance” from Felipe Massa.

Ferrari seems to be the quicker car than McLaren at the moment. If things go well for them they may be capable of 1-2 finish. But it has been very long time since things went well for any of the front running teams … What may be going against Ferrari in Shanghai is the fact that both Raikkonen and Massa will run with old engines while both McLaren drivers with new ones. The other thing that may not make Ferrari guys too happy is the 40% chance of rain on Sunday.

See my photos from 2007 Chinese GP

Psycholgically I think Felipe Massa is in the worst position. Robert Kubica has nothing to loose. Lewis Hamilton may crash out and still keep the title hopes alive. Felipe Massa however can’t afford to mess up the Chinese GP. And then there is Fernando Alonso enjoying winning races again. It looks like exciting weekend ahead.

The Shanghai track may not be the most popular track on the F1 calendar but it is interesting. People who raced on the track love the opening sequence of corners. I myself enjoyed every year sitting at the other end – near the hairpin – and watching the F1 cars taking the semi banked corner and then charging down the long straight towards that hairpin. That hairpin (Turn 14) is a very poplular place for the drivers to loose it. It also offers a good overtaking opportunity and so does the short straight between Turns 15 and 16 that follows.

This is how Willy Rampf, Technical Director of BMW Sauber team sees Shanghai track:

“The track in Shanghai stands out with its very special layout. A particularly interesting section is the double right-hander, double left-hander combination at the end of the start-finish straight. The drivers approach it with a lot of speed and then stay on the brakes for a long time on the entry. This is a very unusual section, which places heavy demands on the tyres.

The long straight offers a good overtaking opportunity, as it feeds into a hairpin and the track is very wide at this point, allowing the drivers to take two different lines. The combination of widely contrasting corners demands a high level of aerodynamic efficiency. With the tyres put under such heavy loads we use the hardest Bridgestone compounds here.”

Here are the results of previous 4 Chinese F1 Grands Prix:

2007

1. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:37:58.395
2. Fernando Alonso – McLaren + 9.8
3. Felipe Massa – Ferrari + 45.8
4. Sebastian Vettel – Toro Rosso + 53.5
5. Jenson Button – Honda + 1:08.6
6. Vitantonio Liuzzi – Toro Rosso + 1:13.6
7. Nick Heidfeld – BMW Sauber + 1:14.2
8. David Coulthard – Red Bull + 1:20.7
9. Heikki Kovalainen – Renault + 1:21.1
10. Mark Webber – Red Bull + 1:24.6

2006
1. Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:37:32.747
2. Fernando Alonso Renault +3.1 sec
3. Giancarlo Fisichella – Renault +44.1 sec
4. Jenson Button – Honda +72.0 sec
5. Pedro de la Rosa – McLaren-Mercedes +77.1 sec
6. Rubens Barrichello – Honda +79.1 sec
7. Nick Heidfeld – Sauber-BMW +91.9 sec
8. Mark Webber – Williams-Cosworth +103.5 sec
9. David Coulthard – RBR-Ferrari +103.7 sec
10. Vitantonio Liuzzi – STR-Cosworth +1 Lap

2005
1. Fernando Alonso – Renault – 1:39:53.618
2. Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes +4.0 sec
3. Ralf Schumacher – Toyota +25.3 sec
4. Giancarlo Fisichella – Renault +26.1 sec
5. Christian Klien – RBR-Cosworth +31.8 sec
6. Felipe Massa – Sauber-Petronas +36.4 sec
7. Mark Webber – Williams-BMW +36.8 sec
8. Jenson Button – BAR-Honda +41.2 sec
9. David Coulthard – RBR-Cosworth +44.2 sec
10. Jacques Villeneuve – Sauber-Petronas +59.9 sec

2004
1. Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari – 1:29:12.420
2. Jenson Button – BAR-Honda +1.0 sec
3. Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes +1.4 sec
4. Fernando Alonso – Renault +32.5 sec
5. Juan Pablo Montoya – Williams-BMW +45.1 sec
6. Takuma Sato – BAR-Honda +54.7 sec
7. Giancarlo Fisichella – Sauber-Petronas +65.4 sec
8. Felipe Massa – Sauber-Petronas +80.0 sec
9. David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +80.6 sec
10. Mark Webber – Jaguar-Cosworth +1 Lap

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2014 Teams and Drivers

Red Bull
Sebastian VETTEL
Daniel RICCIARDO
Ferrari
Fernando ALONSO
Kimi RAIKKONEN
McLaren
Jenson BUTTON
Kevin MAGNUSSEN
Lotus
Romain GROSJEAN
Pastor MALDONADO
Mercedes
Nico ROSBERG
Lewis HAMILTON
Sauber
Adrian SUTIL
Esteban GUTIEREZ
Force India
Nico HULKENBERG
Sergio PEREZ
Williams
Felipe MASSA
Valtteri BOTTAS
Toro Rosso
Daniil KVYAT
Jean Eric VERGNE
Caterham
Marcus ERICSSON
Kamui KOBAYASHI
Marussia
Jules BIANCHI
Max CHILTON

2014 F1 Calendar

14-16 March - Australia
28-30 March - Malaysia
4-6 April - Bahrain
18-20 April - China
9-11 May - Spain
22-25 May - Monaco
6-8 June - Canada
20-22 June - Austria
4-6 July - Great Britain
18-20 July - Germany
25-27 July - Hungary
22-24 August - Belgium
5-7 September - Italy
19-21 September - Singapore
3-5 October - Japan
10-12 October - Russia
31 October-2 November - USA
7-9 November - Brazil
21-23 November - Abu Dhabi

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