Shanghai: Let the battle continue…

Shanghai: Let the battle continue…

10 April 2013 – After more than a fortnight away, Formula 1 returns to life at the Shanghai International Circuit this weekend. Part of a back-to-back schedule with Bahrain, the venue has all the required ingredients at the ready to produce another fascinating Grand Prix, with recent form suggesting that at least four teams can fight for victory.

Now that the Malaysian Grand Prix team order controversy has settled down and past drivers have delivered their respective opinions, attentions will be turning to how Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber can put their differences aside to keep Red Bull in the driving seat. Let’s be clear; Mercedes, Lotus and Ferrari are all within touching distance and McLaren has embarked upon its comeback, so any in-house fighting needs to be restricted to an absolute minimum by team boss Christian Horner.

If – and that’s a big if – the Red Bull duo can prolong their working relationship until what many expect will be a parting of ways in 17 races’ time, there is no reason to suggest an upcoming dip in form. And aside from last season, the outfit has enjoyed plenty of success at the Shanghai track under Adrian Newey’s technical leadership, with its maiden victory being achieved on Chinese soil four years ago.

However, despite Red Bull’s history at Shanghai and its performance – ignoring the inter-team drama – in Malaysia, Mercedes has shown that winning-pace is not too far away. With the outfit’s 2012 tyre woes seemingly a thing of the past, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg kept Vettel and Webber in sight until a phase of extreme fuel-saving took the wind out of their sails. If these issues are ironed out and a small amount of performance is added, the Silver Arrows could be a serious threat. You only have to look back 12 months to see what the team can do when it strings together a weekend.

Alonso missed a golden opportunity at Sepang

Lotus and Ferrari should also have been in the fight for victory at Sepang, but a variety of reasons paved the way for Red Bull and Mercedes to storm clear. Lotus struggled all weekend amid the changeable conditions, describing it as a blip in form, while an uncharacteristic but somewhat understandable decision from Ferrari and Fernando Alonso to stay out on-track with a damaged front wing wiped away another podium chance. Felipe Massa picked up the pieces in fifth, far from the Scuderia’s pre-race target.

The heartache was more severe at McLaren, however, with the squad missing out on its first major points haul of the season due to a pit-stop error. In Jenson Button’s words, his season reboots in China, with a series of planned and responsive car upgrades being shipped to the Far East after the team reflected and understood its fundamental issues at the MTC. We can be sure that McLaren will be back, but it depends whether this is going to be in time to fight for either of the two world titles.

Another team eager for a prompt return to form is Force India. Although the pace of the VJM06 has never been in doubt, with the team stamping its authority over Sauber, Toro Rosso and Williams in Australia, both Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta suffered retirements last time out as a result of a wheel nut issue. With this problem rectified and McLaren still on the tall ladder to recovery, a second double points finish of the year is not out of the question come Sunday.

The back of the grid is also providing plenty of entertainment, with star rookie Jules Bianchi demonstrating his true potential after a tumultuous journey through motorsport's ranks. The Marussia driver has comfortably outpaced his closest rivals and heads to China hoping to unlock even more pace. If this continues, his services will surely be acquired by one of the sport’s more established teams in 2014.

But whoever we are discussing this weekend, tyres will be at the forefront of their minds. Red Bull has persistently complained after suffering severe degradation in Australia and Malaysia, while Pirelli simply states that the rubber is living up to what has been requested. The Medium and Soft compounds will get their first test as a combination at Shanghai, with plenty more pit-stops and permutations predicted.

Let’s wait for those five red lights…

Mike Seymour
GPUpdate.net Editor

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Friday 25 July 2014

  2. 09:00

    Follow first practice for the Hungarian GP!

    F1
  3. Video of the Day: Hamilton's Hungaroring guide 05:00

    Video of the Day: Hamilton's Hungaroring guide

    Join Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton for a lap of the Hungaroring.

    F1
  4. Thursday 24 July 2014

  5. Video: Mexico outlines planned track changes 22:49

    Video: Mexico outlines planned track changes

    Organisers of the returning Mexican Grand Prix highlight the modifications that will be required to the Autódromo Hermanos...

    F1
  6. Räikkönen: 2015 car will be more to my liking 17:16

    Räikkönen: 2015 car will be more to my liking

    Kimi Räikkönen is certain that next year's Ferrari design will be better-suited to his driving style. The former World C...

    F1
  7. Sutil shrugs off replacement rumours 16:39

    Sutil shrugs off replacement rumours

    Adrian Sutil has shunned rumours that Sauber is looking to replace him before the end of the season. It was suggested...

    F1
  8. Rossi joins Marussia as reserve driver 16:26

    Rossi joins Marussia as reserve driver

    Alexander Rossi has joined Marussia as its reserve driver for the remainder of the 2014 season. The 22-year-old American...

    F1
  9. 15:20

    Latest F1 photos: Thursday at Hungaroring

    F1
  10. Pérez '100 per cent sure' of Mexico return 14:49

    Pérez '100 per cent sure' of Mexico return

    Sergio Pérez says he has no doubts over Mexico's planned return to the Formula 1 calendar. At a special press conference...

    F1
  11. Video: Rosberg previews the Hungarian GP 13:30

    Video: Rosberg previews the Hungarian GP

    Mercedes driver and championship leader Nico Rosberg previews the Hungarian Grand Prix.

    F1
  12. Pirelli announces tyre choices until Singapore 13:10

    Pirelli announces tyre choices until Singapore

    Pirelli has announced its tyre compound choices for the Belgian, Italian and Singapore Grands Prix. At Spa-Francorchamps,...

    F1
  13. Marko: Mercedes, McLaren targeting Vettel 11:46

    Marko: Mercedes, McLaren targeting Vettel

    Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko claims that Mercedes and McLaren have targeted Sebastian Vettel. The reigning quadruple...

    F1
  14. Pérez gets grandstand for United States GP 10:06

    Pérez gets grandstand for United States GP

    A grandstand has been dedicated to Sergio Pérez fans for this year's United States Grand Prix. The Force India driver has...

    F1
  15. Video: Mansell, Berger battle in Mexico 09:14

    Video: Mansell, Berger battle in Mexico

    With news that the Mexican Grand Prix will return to the Formula 1 calendar next season, relive one of the standout battles...

    F1
  16. Horner: We will fight all the way to Abu Dhabi 07:00

    Horner: We will fight all the way to Abu Dhabi

    Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has insisted that the reigning World Champions will keep "fighting all the way to...

    F1
  17. Hungaroring memories: Räikkönen wins, 2005 05:00

    Hungaroring memories: Räikkönen wins, 2005

    Relive then McLaren driver Kimi Räikkönen's 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix victory.

    F1
  18. Wednesday 23 July 2014

  19. Official: Mexico confirmed for 2015 season 22:14

    Official: Mexico confirmed for 2015 season

    During a press conference in the country on Wednesday, organisers of a new race officially announced that Mexico will return...

    F1
  20. Video: Ferrari looks ahead to Hungary 18:05

    Video: Ferrari looks ahead to Hungary

    Ferrari Technical Director James Allison looks ahead to this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

    F1
  21. Lotus already well into design of 2015 car 17:22

    Lotus already well into design of 2015 car

    Lotus Technical Director Nick Chester has confirmed the Enstone team is already "well into the design of next year's car"...

    F1
  22. FIA confirms minor changes at Hungaroring 16:05

    FIA confirms minor changes at Hungaroring

    The Hungaroring has been tweaked ahead of this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix. The alterations see new debris fencing...

    F1
  23. Pirro named driver steward for Hungary 15:25

    Pirro named driver steward for Hungary

    Emanuele Pirro will be the FIA driver steward at the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend, carrying out the task for the eighth...

    F1
  24. Toto Wolff injured in cycling accident 14:24

    Toto Wolff injured in cycling accident

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has suffered a fractured shoulder, collar bone, elbow and wrist ahead of this weekend's Hungarian...

    F1
  25. Mallya: More podiums possible for Force India 14:05

    Mallya: More podiums possible for Force India

    Force India boss Vijay Mallya is confident his team will be able to get more podium finishes this season. Sergio Pérez...

    F1
  26. Video: Force India drivers on Hungarian GP 13:30

    Video: Force India drivers on Hungarian GP

    Force India drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Pérez preview the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix.

    F1
  27. Magnussen wants problem-free weekend 13:17

    Magnussen wants problem-free weekend

    McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen has said he is hoping for a weekend "where everything comes together" in Hungary. Danish...

    F1
  28. Albers: Caterham making progress already 12:35

    Albers: Caterham making progress already

    Caterham Team Principal Christijan Albers believes that the squad is already making progress under its new owners. Tony...

    F1
  29. Lauda apologises to di Montezemolo and Ferrari 11:54

    Lauda apologises to di Montezemolo and Ferrari

    Niki Lauda has apologised to Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo after his blunt description of the team's 2014 Formula 1...

    F1
  30. Lotus: We want to keep Grosjean in 2015 11:07

    Lotus: We want to keep Grosjean in 2015

    Lotus Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi has said it is the outfit's "intention" to retain Romain Grosjean next...

    F1
  31. Bottas: Hungary not best circuit for our car 10:12

    Bottas: Hungary not best circuit for our car

    Valtteri Bottas has admitted he might struggle to get on the podium again this weekend in the Hungarian Grand...

    F1
  32. Mexico Grand Prix set for F1 return in 2015 09:52

    Mexico Grand Prix set for F1 return in 2015

    Mexico will return next season, Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed. According to reports by Forbes,...

    F1
  33. Mark Sutton: Story behind the shot - Germany 09:00

    Mark Sutton: Story behind the shot - Germany

    Especially for lovers of motorsport photography, GPUpdate.net is this season running a feature series entitled Story behind...

    F1
  34. Exclusive interview with Paul Hembery 08:00

    Exclusive interview with Paul Hembery

    Pirelli faced one of its biggest challenges since returning to the sport this season, having to adapt its products to...

    F1
  35. Hungaroring memories: Hill's first victory, 1993 05:00

    Hungaroring memories: Hill's first victory, 1993

    Take a look back at the 1993 Hungarian Grand Prix, when Damon Hill claimed his maiden Formula 1 victory.

    F1
  36. Tuesday 22 July 2014

  37. D'Ambrosio joins Dragon Racing team 16:27

    D'Ambrosio joins Dragon Racing team

    Jérôme d'Ambrosio has completed Dragon Racing's line-up for the inaugural Formula E season. The 28-year-old Belgian, who p...

    Formula E
  38. Vergne to demo Red Bull F1 car at Assen 16:20

    Vergne to demo Red Bull F1 car at Assen

    Toro Rosso driver Jean-Éric Vergne will showcase a modern Formula 1 car at Assen next week. The Frenchman, contesting his...

    F1
  39. Hembery wants to keep Bahrain on test calendar 15:08

    Hembery wants to keep Bahrain on test calendar

    Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery is still hoping that Bahrain will be able to host a portion of pre-season testing...

    F1
  40. 14:09

    Photos: German GP in black and white

    F1
  41. Video: Pirelli's guide to the Hungarian GP 13:30

    Video: Pirelli's guide to the Hungarian GP

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli previews this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring.

    F1
  42. Giovesi joins Caterham driver programme 11:58

    Giovesi joins Caterham driver programme

    Kevin Giovesi has become the second member of Caterham's new driver development programme. The 20-year-old Italian, who...

    F1
  43. Tost: Kvyat is doing a fantastic job 10:52

    Tost: Kvyat is doing a fantastic job

    Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost has heaped praise on Daniil Kvyat for "doing a fantastic job" during the first half of his...

    F1
  44. Ecclestone: No doubts over Russian GP 10:16

    Ecclestone: No doubts over Russian GP

    Bernie Ecclestone says he has no doubts over the Russian Grand Prix following the MH17 tragedy. Malaysia Airlines Flight...

    F1
more news