12 Apr 2016
Raikkonen and Adami talk us through the challenges of the track
Less than two weeks after the Bahraini round, Formula One moves to China, where a Grand Prix has been held in Shanghai since 2004. Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen remembers a brilliant win he achieved here in 2007, which eventually paved the way to his World Champion title with Scuderia Ferrari.
“There were tricky conditions, it was wet to start with and then the track was drying up, so obviously there was a point to change the Intermediates tires and then we got a ride. Obviously not the easiest race to anybody, but we came out quite easily.” The track has changed little over all these years, but remains pretty interesting. “The circuit is quite challenging. First of all, you must mind the start with first few corners where you can get a lot of lap time, if you can get it right though. It’s not an easy circuit, but it’s fun.” Shanghai is a bustling city which offers lots of attractions, but Kimi remains quite unfazed.
“I was always in the middle of the city but I haven’t been out the door. I’ve only been at the circuit and in the hotel, so all I can say is that sometimes in the morning the traffic can be really tricky”.
Time to throw the floor open to Riccardo Adami, Sebastian Vettel’s race engineer, for a technical review of the Shanghai International Circuit:
“It will be a challenge in setting up the car because we have a very long straight and also slow speed and high speed corners, so we should try to find the trade-off between those particular aspects of the track with the set-up of the car. Shanghai is a circuit with a particular shape. Turn 1 is a corner with longitudinal and lateral load transfers. So, we’ll try to find the right compromise between braking, but also the stability of the car in the corner.” And the challenges don’t end there: “The weather usually is very unpredictable. Over the last few years we have challenged ourselves with cold and rainy conditions. So, especially when it is cold, the front tackle becomes weaker, so then we need to tackle the set-up in this regard in order to find the good balance of the car”
This kind of track can make an engineer’s life hard, but luckily there are moments of relief: “China is not a big issue with the braking because there is not a high energy under braking circuit, even if it can be tricky with the balance of the car as I said for Turn 1, but also the other braking places on the track. So, we need anyways to raise our attention on this topic.” Finally, a word on the new challenges brought in by the 2016 regulations: “This year we will also have a third compound available, the Supersoft tire, while last year we had only Mediums and Softs, therefore it will be a very important item to understand the behavior of this compound in performance and degradation. So, we need to address a proper programme in order to find the right strategy for Sunday.”