The F1 world is looking to the Shanghai skies amid the prospect of another Mercedes versus Ferrari battle this weekend.
Although Ferrari has undoubtedly upped its pace significantly for 2015, many believe the extreme temperatures seen in Malaysia two weeks ago was the biggest factor in Sebastian Vettel’s surprise victory.
Even technical boss James Allison admits that while others may have struggled to cool their cars at Sepang, Ferrari managed to run “without having to open up” the bodywork of the SF15-T.
“The track was also rough and hot, which is hard for tyres, and we’re fortunate the car goes well on its tyres,” he is quoted by the Daily Mail.
“Quite what problems were going on in Merc-land I don’t know. But I’m fairly sure we will have our work cut out in China to do as impressive a job as we did in Malaysia,” said Allison.
That is because much cooler temperatures are forecast for the Chinese grand prix weekend, meaning Mercedes could revert to its Melbourne-brand of dominance.
“There is a lot of work for us to do before we can head into every race weekend confident we can hunt for the victory from the first session of that weekend,” Allison admitted.
Vettel also admits that it is too soon for Ferrari to declare itself on eye-level with the reigning world champions.
“The most important thing now is to confirm our position as the second force,” he told Germany’s Sport Bild.
“Malaysia was very hot, but China is a totally different circuit and it will be much colder. I expect Mercedes to be very, very strong and I believe they will – as usual – set the pace,” Vettel added. (GMM)