The Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai International Circuit is round three on the 2015 Formula One calendar.
This will be the 12th race weekend of the Chinese GP. The race made its F1 debut on Sept. 26, 2004, which was won by Rubens Barrichello when he drove for Ferrari.
Double time world champion Lewis Hamilton has the most victories in the Chinese GP with three. Hamilton won this race in 2008 and ’11 when he drove for McLaren. Hamilton’s third victory in it occurred last year, in his second season with Mercedes.
Fernando Alonso is the only other driver with multiple victories in the Chinese GP. Alonso won this race for the first time in 2005 when he drove for Renault. His second victory in it occurred in 2013 when he was with Ferrari.
Jenson Button (2010), Kimi Raikkonen (2007), Nico Rosberg (2012) and Sebastian Vettel (2009) are the other drivers competing in this weekend’s race that have won in China in the past.
Rosberg scored his maiden F1 race and pole wins in the 2012 Chinese GP. The Mercedes driver put on a dominating performance in that race, as he beat McLaren’s Button to the finish line by more than 20 seconds.
The race winner in the Chinese GP has started on the pole position six times. Michael Schumacher took the checkered flag for this race after starting sixth in 2006, which is the furthest back a driver has started and won it.
Shanghai – three curves in detail
Turns 1 – 4
The slowest complex on the track is the radial turn from T1 through to T4 where the track tightens on itself and the driver progressively loses speed. Engine braking support and driveability needs to be consistent here to give a stable rear end and avoid excessive wheel-spin, which costs both lap time and increases tyre wear.
To reduce locking and improve the wear rate, engineers will map the engine to reduce engine braking when the driver lifts his foot off the pedal. This squares up the rear of the car, stops it from locking and reduces the tyre wear as a result. This phenomenon of reducing engine braking when the driver is off the throttle is called ‘overrun’.
Turns 12 and 13
Turns 12 and 13, which form the radial corner that leads onto the long straight, are the mirror image of the first complex. Again, creating car stability will decrease lap time, particularly when the tyres are worn or wearing down.
Another means of creating stability is to change the pedal maps, ie. the percentage of torque delivered in relation to the percentage of pedal application. While the throttle application needs to correspond roughly to the torque delivered, small variations can make a real difference in the stability of the car.
In this complex a soft pedal map – where the engine delivers relatively less torque at a low pedal position – is likely to be used so the driver initially has more modulation to avoid wheelspin, which wears the tyres unnecessarily.
Straight between T13 and T14
The straight between turns 13 and 14 is a touch over 1,300km and the RS27 will sit at full throttle for between 17 and 18 seconds – longer than it takes for a small airplane to take off! Given this period of time, which equates to about 20% of the lap time, it is essential to calibrate the engine and gear ratios to maximise acceleration without compromising maximum speed.
Short ratios favour acceleration, which means getting up to speed in a shorter distance over the first part of the straight, while a longer top gear ratio permits higher maximum speed, which is important on the second part of the straight. (Renault Sport)
Another Asian addition to the 2004 season, once again designed by Hermann Tilke was the Shanghai circuit.
The layout is based on the Chinese sign of ‘Shang’ meaning ‘rising’ and has been constructed on thousands of polystyrene blocks in swampy land. It has a contrasting blend of fast-flowing turns and some tricky, slow sections.
The venue boasts one of the largest and most impressive paddock facilities on the calendar. A fast, sweeping section mid-way through the lap challenges the drivers to keep their right foot pinned down and extract the most from their machinery on the all-important qualifying lap.
The circuit has hosted some dramatic races in its eleven-year history. Michael Schumacher pulled off a brilliant victory in wet conditions in 2006 while Lewis Hamilton saw his title hopes fade in 2007 when he got beached in a gravel trap entering the pit-lane. Nico Rosberg claimed his first pole position and race victory here in 2012 for Mercedes F1 Team. (UBS)
2014 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 188.824 kph/1:33:28.338
2013 Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 189.779 mph/1:36:26.945
2012 Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 189.778 kph/1:36:26.929
2011 Lewis Hamilton, , 188.758 kph/1:36:58.226
2010 Jenson Button, McLaren, 171.541 kph/1:46:42.163
2009 Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, 155.447 kph/1:57:43.485
2008 Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 199.049 kph/1:31:57.403
2007 Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 186.826 kph/1:37:58.395
2006 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 187.644 kph/1:37:32.747
2005 Fernando Alonso, Renault, 183.234 kph/1:36:53.618
2004 Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, 205.313 kph/1:29:12.420