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 3 July 2015

  2. Massa expects third season at Williams 08:16

    Massa expects third season at Williams

    Felipe Massa says he is expecting to remain at Williams in 2016, with the team holding an option on the Brazilian for what would…

    F1
  3. Video of the Day: Hamilton's Silverstone preview 05:09

    Video of the Day: Hamilton's Silverstone preview

    Mercedes driver and championship leader Lewis Hamilton looks ahead to his home race at Silverstone.

    F1
  4. Thursday 2 July 2015

  5. 19:12

    Latest F1 photos: Thursday at Silverstone

    F1
  6. Manor Marussia reveals updated livery 19:10

    Manor Marussia reveals updated livery

    Manor Marussia has revealed an updated livery for the remainder of the season after announcing a new sponsorship deal. The…

    F1
  7. F1 Strategy Group agrees on various changes 19:09

    F1 Strategy Group agrees on various changes

    Formula 1's governing body, the FIA, FOM and teams, who meet as the F1 Strategy Group, have announced a series of regulation…

    F1
  8. Formula E retains same 10 teams 17:24

    Formula E retains same 10 teams

    Organisers of the Formula E championship have confirmed that the 10 teams which competed in the in the inaugural season will…

    FE
  9. Verstappen: Toro Rosso behind only Mercedes 17:19

    Verstappen: Toro Rosso behind only Mercedes

    Max Verstappen reckons Toro Rosso has the second fastest car in the Formula 1 field, behind Mercedes, with only Renault's power…

    F1
  10. Massa says Räikkönen needs to 'relax' 15:33

    Massa says Räikkönen needs to 'relax'

    Williams driver Felipe Massa says former team-mate Kimi Räikkönen needs to "relax" if he is to get his Formula 1 career back…

    F1
  11. Nasr encouraged by Mark Smith signing 14:31

    Nasr encouraged by Mark Smith signing

    Felipe Nasr has described as a "smart move" Sauber's decision to hire Mark Smith as its new Technical Director, the team's first…

    F1
  12. Aoyama to replace Abraham in Germany 14:22

    Aoyama to replace Abraham in Germany

    Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama will make a return to MotoGP in Germany next weekend in place of Karel Abraham at AB…

    MotoGP
  13. Canamasas joins Lazarus, Lancaster returns 14:12

    Canamasas joins Lazarus, Lancaster returns

    Sergio Canamasas and Jon Lancaster will make their returns to the GP2 Series this weekend after joining Lazarus and Hilmer…

    GP2
  14. Force India's Pérez targets Red Bull with new car 13:06

    Force India's Pérez targets Red Bull with new car

    Sergio Pérez says the arrival of Force India's B-spec car should give the team confidence to target fourth-placed Red Bull over…

    F1
  15. Rowland gets Silverstone MP Motorsport seat 10:03

    Rowland gets Silverstone MP Motorsport seat

    Formula Renault 3.5 Series leader Oliver Rowland will make his GP2 debut with MP Motorsport at this weekend's round of the…

    GP2
  16. GP3 to use 'Super Hard' tyre at Silverstone 10:01

    GP3 to use 'Super Hard' tyre at Silverstone

    A new Pirelli 'Super Hard' tyre compound will make its track debut this weekend, with the GP3 Series set to use the rubber at…

    GP3
  17. Power penalised for Fontana incident 10:00

    Power penalised for Fontana incident

    Will Power has been fined $25,000 and placed on probation for the remainder of the IndyCar season for pushing a track worker…

    Indy
  18. Manor Marussia set for upgrade package 09:32

    Manor Marussia set for upgrade package

    Manor Marussia is set to bring its first upgrade package to the MR03B for its home race at Silverstone this weekend. The…

    F1
  19. Red Bull switching focus to 2016 – Ricciardo 08:12

    Red Bull switching focus to 2016 – Ricciardo

    Daniel Ricciardo says Red Bull's travails so far in the 2015 season mean it makes sense for squad to switch its focus into…

    F1
  20. Silverstone memories: First lap pile-up 05:26

    Silverstone memories: First lap pile-up

    Relive the start to the 1973 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, known for a huge first lap pile-up. The carnage was triggered…

    F1
  21. Wednesday 1 July 2015

  22. Formula 1 needs to be more competitive – fans 16:53

    Formula 1 needs to be more competitive – fans

    Almost 90 per cent of Formula 1 fans hold the view that the sport needs to be more competitive, according to the results of a…

    F1
  23. Button: Test mileage motivating for McLaren 14:39

    Button: Test mileage motivating for McLaren

    Jenson Button says that the mileage completed by McLaren during the post-race test in Austria has given the squad extra…

    F1
  24. Video: Räikkönen previews Silverstone 12:34

    Video: Räikkönen previews Silverstone

    Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen looks ahead to this weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

    F1
  25. Horner: Formula E won't rival Formula 1 12:02

    Horner: Formula E won't rival Formula 1

    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has opposed Sir Richard Branson's view that Formula E will become a rival to and ultimately…

    F1
  26. Qatar 'close to agreement' for F1 race 11:43

    Qatar 'close to agreement' for F1 race

    Qatar is closer than ever to securing a place on the Formula 1 calendar, according to the head of the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle…

    F1
  27. Cecotto Jr. in for Sørensen at Carlin 11:15

    Cecotto Jr. in for Sørensen at Carlin

    GP2 race winner Johnny Cecotto Jr. has been drafted in to race for Carlin at this weekend's Silverstone event, following Marco…

    GP2
  28. Wolff: Mercedes must maintain high level 10:56

    Wolff: Mercedes must maintain high level

    Toto Wolff says that his Mercedes team must maintain its current high level in order to prevent rivals from having any…

    F1
  29. Factfile: The 2015 British Grand Prix 09:49

    Factfile: The 2015 British Grand Prix

    Formula 1 heads to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix this week, with pleasant summer conditions expected. Prior to the…

    F1
  30. Sauber appoints new Technical Director 09:28

    Sauber appoints new Technical Director

    Sauber has announced that Mark Smith will join the team as its Technical Director later this month. Smith was most recently…

    F1
  31. Vergne: FE performances show ability 09:11

    Vergne: FE performances show ability

    Former Toro Rosso driver Jean-Éric Vergne says that the speed he has displayed during the inaugural Formula E championship…

    F1
  32. Preview: Five key questions for Britain 07:11

    Preview: Five key questions for Britain

    Formula 1 returns 'home' this weekend for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Ahead of the popular event in the countryside…

    F1
  33. Silverstone memories: Hill, Schumacher collide 05:17

    Silverstone memories: Hill, Schumacher collide

    Watch as Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher clash while fighting for the lead of the 1995 British Grand Prix. Both drivers were…

    F1
  34. Tuesday 30 June 2015

  35. Video: Williams FW13B at Goodwood 16:30

    Video: Williams FW13B at Goodwood

    Ride onboard with Williams development driver Alex Lynn as he demonstrates the FW13B at Goodwood.

    F1
  36. Williams confident of podium challenge 15:10

    Williams confident of podium challenge

    Williams' Rob Smedley says that the squad should be able to challenge for the podium at this weekend's British Grand Prix, with…

    F1
  37. Alonso could face further engine penalties 14:51

    Alonso could face further engine penalties

    McLaren's Fernando Alonso could face further engine penalties at this weekend's British Grand Prix, with Honda investigating the…

    F1
  38. Horner: Formula 1 at a 'critical stage' 13:45

    Horner: Formula 1 at a 'critical stage'

    Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner reckons Formula 1 is at a "critical stage" and that drivers need to be given more of a…

    F1
  39. Ricciardo not ruling out Red Bull departure 12:51

    Ricciardo not ruling out Red Bull departure

    Daniel Ricciardo says that he cannot completely rule out departing Red Bull at the end of 2015, as the team continues to examine…

    F1
  40. Hamilton vows to go 'all out' for home win 12:00

    Hamilton vows to go 'all out' for home win

    World Champion Lewis Hamilton says he will go 'all out' in his bid to record a third home victory at the British Grand Prix this…

    F1
  41. Baku construction work to begin this week 10:44

    Baku construction work to begin this week

    Construction work for next year's European Grand Prix around the streets of Azerbaijan's capital city, Baku, is set to begin…

    F1
  42. Barcelona set to host 2016 pre-season testing 10:36

    Barcelona set to host 2016 pre-season testing

    The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, home of the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, is set to host next year's pre-season testing…

    F1
  43. Bradl has surgery on fractured scaphoid 09:44

    Bradl has surgery on fractured scaphoid

    Forward Racing rider Stefan Bradl has undergone surgery for a fractured scaphoid, following a crash at the Dutch TT last…

    MotoGP
  44. Feature: How has Formula E fared? 07:23

    Feature: How has Formula E fared?

    When the chequered flag fell at the London ePrix and Nelson Piquet Jr.'s seventh position ensured he beat Sébastien Buemi to…

    FE
more news