Connect with us

Formula 1

What to expect from China after 5 years? DRC’s Chinese GP preview.

Published

on

The return of the sport to the Shanghai International Circuit for the 5th round of 2024 brings along a new sprint weekend format, the first of which we get to see this season. With these new generation cars not having raced at this venue and the track also getting resurfaced, there’s plenty up for grabs this weekend.

About the Race Track

The Shanghai International Circuit debuted on the F1 calendar in 2004 and is known for its challenging design and diverse features. The 5.451 km track has a pleasant mix of corner variations, such as the unique Turns 1 and 2 complex, the high-g sectors around turns 7 and 8, and the tight hairpin of Turn 14. Two of the DRS zones include the long straight between T-13 and 14, one of the longest on the calendar, and the main start-finish straight. The high g-force turns are enjoyed by drivers for the technical skill they demand. The circuit’s layout, with its unique ‘Shang’ symbol shape, provides a variety of racing lines and strategies, contributing to its raceability.
Michael Schumacher holds the lap record for the Chinese Grand Prix, set at 1:32:238 in 2004.

What to Expect

With this being a new track for the newer car generation, not much comparative data will be available to the teams. A slew of changes were brought to Japan by Red Bull, Aston Martin, and many others. Not many more are slated to get new parts owing to the relatively unknown nature of the circuit, but expectations from the grid can still be gauged. There is of course less time for the teams to set up their cars in a sprint weekend, which means there will be unknowns aplenty.


The New Sprint format

Formula 1 starts the 2024 season with yet another change to its controversial sprint format, the third in three years. Here are the new rules:

·        Friday: FP1 – 60 minutes, followed by Sprint Qualifying, which sets the grid for Saturday’s Sprint.

·        Saturday: Sprint – 100kms dash, no mandatory pits. Points for the top 8 finishers. Followed by Grand Prix Qualifying.

·        Sunday: The Main Grand Prix.

Do note, that the parc fermé rules have now been slightly altered, with the addition of a second parc fermé period. Cars are now initially placed under parc fermé conditions at the start of Sprint Qualifying until the end of the Sprint. Further changes can be made to the cars between the Sprint and the start of Grand Prix Qualifying, following which the second parc fermé rules are enforced.

Key talking points

Red Bull is still the team to beat

Red Bull still has the upper hand, with their car now inching towards perfection. The RB20 came adorned with a healthy upgrade package back in Japan, so expect them to simmer it down with changes. While Verstappen is still at the top of his game, Perez’s recent improvement has been impressive.
Whether it’s his usual early-season spark in performance or him coming to terms with his car, expect the Mexican to be on the top of his game this weekend. At least he has to, if he is to keep his seat.

Ferrari is on the uptick

One can very well expect Ferrari to take the fight up to Red Bull, considering the strong performances displayed by Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in Japan. If the improved tire degradation is to be of any indication, Ferrari’s new suspension upgrades will have come up as a ray of hope for the Tifosi. With the Scuderia now focused a lot more on mid-season upgrades, we can surely expect them to fight for podiums, if not for a win.

Mercedes still figuring out

The Brackley outfit has once again fallen prey to its change of philosophy, with neither car able to match the race pace of its competitors up the grid. The Silver Arrows are well behind on 3rd place McLaren. But it can only keep from conceding its position to Aston Martin if its two British drivers can manage to outperform their cars this weekend, especially with a lot more points up for grabs out here. Not only is this team marred with performance issues, but their reliability also seems to warrant some care. Perhaps Russell and Hamilton need to hold on to their steering a bit longer, given that no major upgrade package is slated on the horizon.

McLaren on the hunt

McLaren has consistently proven that their new outlook has paid dividends towards performance. Despite a strategy mishap, a podium in Australia and a P5 in Japan show that they could be one of the teams to be noted during the Sprint weekend at Shanghai. However, the problem they have in the straight-line speed deficit seen in Jeddah, could show up and impact the pecking order. Still, given the surprising working window of the papaya-liveried cars, making a solid estimation becomes hard in a close midfield.

Rest of the field

Home hero Zhou Guanyu must be overjoyed being able to race in his country, the first Chinese driver to do so in F1. But his team’s pangs may keep his hands tied behind his back, with Sauber still reeling under the issues of difficult pit stops. That’s something that has significantly affected their race results since if their stops were to be disregarded, the pace appears to be set on points finishes.

Fernando Alonso, off the bat of his ‘longest ever contract’ re-sign with Aston Martin, will be looking to grab as many points as possible for the team. Japan brought about plenty of updates for the Silverstone-based team, so now we can expect the team to perform well on a track with similar characteristics.

Among others, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon is also set to don a new floor upgrade, aiming to improve the troubled A524.
Daniel Ricciardo will also be receiving his new chassis as the RB team is trying to understand the Australian’s lack of confidence, after his slew of terrible finishes compared to his teammate. The latter even managed to score a point at his home race of Japan, while Ricciardo DNF’d on the opening lap.


Weather

It’s expected to be dry but cloudy for the race weekend – slight chance of a wet session on Friday, with lower temperatures meaning ease on the machines.

Weekend Schedule

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Formula 1

A Three way Battle in Budapest: The 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix Preview.

Formula One returns to the historic Hungaroring, a tight twisty and unpredictable race track. Read DRC’s race preview here.

Published

on

As Red-Bull and Mclaren pull away from the field, Mercedes joins the party. With three race winning cars on track, all three will look to bag good points, while Ferrari will be hopeful for a better result. Welcome to DRC’s F1 Hungarian Grand Prix Preview.

Read the British Grand Prix Review here.


Know the Hungaroring

The tight and twisty Hungaroring track is located in Mogyorod, 11 miles west of the Hungarian capital, Budapest. Described as an enlarged go-kart circuit, it is one of the most technically challenging circuits on the calendar.

The Hungaroring Circuit.
The Hungaroring circuit. Photo credits: F1

The 14 corner track is also called Monaco without the walls, owing to it’s high downforce requirements. Even though overtaking is very difficult here, the track has undergone only one major revision, which was in 2003. The main straight was extended another 200 meters to make it 900m long, and the first corner was tightened to promote overtaking.

The track contains two back-to-back DRS zones, followed by a technical middle sector full of chicanes and esses. The final sector is a short one, only featuring two hairpins that feed back into the main straight. A good middle sector is crucial here.

Historically, Hungary has been a circuit full of firsts. It was the first and only circuit to host a race beyond the Iron Curtian. It is also famous for giving drivers their first wins. Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen and most recently, Esteban Ocon have taken their first wins here. Max Verstappen took his first pole back in 2019 at the Hungaroring too.

The 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix will consist of 70 laps around this 4.381 kilometer circuit, with a two stop strategy as the norm.


Red Bull look to fight back blow for blow

Over the last few races, Red Bull has fallen off the pace and is slowly falling into the clutches of McLaren, and even Ferrari. Right now, Red Bull lead Ferrari by 71 points, closely followed by McLaren. With both McLaren cars consistently finishing in the top 5 in the last races bar Norris’s retirement in Austria, and Checo only scoring 8 points in the last five races, it has become difficult for Max and Red Bull to outscore the Papaya clad team.

McLaren’s last upgrade has significantly improved their performance, while Red Bull is still struggling to find and mend the issues with the RB20. Verstappen recently tested the RB18 at Imola, in an attempt to figure out the problem with the new car. As Red Bull work hard to rectify their problems, McLaren seems to be getting better and better. And now with Mercedes back in the fray, a new challenger is rising to take their throne.

Max Verstappen testing the RB18 at Imola.
Max Tests the RB18 in Imola. Image cradits: Autosport

Another factor is the two on one that Max has to face. With Checo qualifying poorly, Max has to take on the McLaren, and sometimes the Mercedes pair alone. Two cars in the mix would greatly help Red Bull, and Checo will be motivated to improve his Qualifying and Race records.


Mercedes on the up as Hamilton eyes another record

The Hungaroring has always been kind to Mercedes. They have the most wins here in the Turbo-Hybrid era. Russell and Hamilton snatched pole here in 2022 and 2023 respectively. Hamilton has also won eight races here, and his first victory with Mercedes came here in 2013.

Mercedes usually nail the set-up here. With the team riding high after back-to-back victories in Austria and Silverstone, they would love to go for a treble. Lewis Hamilton will also eye a record equaling nine victories. After his win in Silverstone, he now holds the record for most wins at a single circuit with 9.

George Russell also has a fantastic track record here, finishing in the points every year since 2021, where he came eight for a struggling Williams. A podium and a top 5 finish followed in 2022 and 2023.

Mercedes will want to secure a large bag of points here, to reduce the 152 points defecit they have to the leaders Red Bull and to catch up with McLaren and Ferrari.


A Ferrari Renaissance on the Horizon?

Ferrari seems to have dropped off after their excellent performances in Melbourne and Monaco. This year, Ferrari seem to be a heavily down-force reliant car, with podiums for Charles and Carlos in Sakhir, Jeddhah, Melbourne and Suzuka, all tracks which require downforce. Of course their victories on the streets of Melbourne and Monte-Carlo confirms this.

Charles Leclerc Wins in Monaco.
Ferrari have dominated the Downforce heavy circuits. Image Credit: Anonymous

Their struggles at the more balanced tracks of Canada and Barcelona, along with power heavy tracks like Austria and Silverstone have cost them dearly. It is also evident that the Ferrari is one of the more draggy cars on the straights and struggle with straight line speed.

As the Hungaroring is a heavy-downforce track, it seems like Ferrari have a shot at victory here. This might be one of the few chances for them to get points during the European Leg of the season, along with Zandvoort and Baku. Consequently, Ferrari have bought new floor upgrades to make most of this valuable chance. A huge points haul in the Hungarian Grand Prix will solidify their chances against McLaren, Red Bull and even Mercedes who look threatening.


Dark Clouds loom over the race

An alarming video was shared by Mikey Brown, a mechanic at Aston Martin, shows the Pitlane flooding in what he described as “a HUGE storm” . McLaren, having barely repaired their motorhome in time for the British GP after the fire in Catalunya, have suffered another issue. The repaired motorhome has lost it’s roof multiple times over this week, thanks to the speedy winds.

Even though Meteorologists predict a dry weekend, a small rain shower, combined with the high humidity in Hungary this time of year can put the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend in doubt.


Championship Standings

This is how the championship looks as we head into the race weekend:

The 2024 Formula One world championship standings as of 18/07/2024.
Credits: F1

Race Weekend Schedule

All events during the weekend are available to watch on F1TV and Fancode. The times given below are in IST(GMT +5:30).

DRC's Hungarian Grand Prix Race weekend schedule.

Follow Desi Racing Co to keep up to date with the speedy world of motorsports.

Continue Reading

Formula 1

Toyota rumoured to partner with Haas in an exhilarating return to F1

Toyota rumoured to partner with Haas to back a sensational return to F1.

Published

on

As the F1 silly season continues, a rather surprising bit of rumour is that the world’s largest automaker, Toyota, is set to return to the F1 grid as early as 2025 with the Haas F1 team.

Credits: Haas F1 team

The partnership is said to start out with a sponsorship deal, possibly with a renaming on the cards. A deal akin to that of Alfa Romeo and Sauber. With the possibility of a future technical partnership on the chassis/engine development. Toyota will likely join Dallara in assisting Haas for the chassis. Other talks suggest that Haas will use Toyota’s facilities for development and manufacturing. While this means Toyota won’t be directly involved in the construction of the F1 car, it means Haas gets a huge boost in infrastructure, experience, etc; and Toyota gets a new source of income.

Toyota’s history in F1

The Japanese manufacturer has seen immense success in WEC, taking 5 consecutive 24 hours of Le Mans victories from 2018 to 2022 and WRC, clinching the manufacturers’ championship in 2018, 2021, and 2022, and the championship for drivers and co-drivers every year since 2019. It wasn’t so for its time in F1, or at least according to Toyota’s standards and ambition.

Credits: Toyota-europe.com

Toyota made their debut F1 in 2002. The team scored 17 podiums, and 3 pole positions but never achieved a victory. Only securing 2nd place as their best finish till they dropped out of the sport in 2009, midway through the development of the 2010 car.

What does this mean for Haas, Toyota, and F1?

Toyota’s failure was blamed on a lot of factors, this deal gave the Japanese manufacturer a second chance to right their wrongs. Haas has been on a consistent upward trajectory throughout the 2024 season. With Nico Hulkenberg scoring back-to-back P6 finishes at the Austrian and British GP, and Kevin Magnussen backing that up with commendable performances. The deal could help Haas gain the brute force of employees, resources & financial aid. Something that they have been lacking to make a meaningful impact in the sport.

F1 would most certainly benefit from having a Japanese Manufacturer in the sport. The Japanese GP attendance and the growing popularity of F1 have been steadily increasing in the country. Toyota’s return could also provide F1 with a boost to their competitiveness and financial gains.

Continue Reading

Formula 1

GIFT City’s Formula 1 Racetrack Plans Hit a Roadblock

GIFT City’s ambitious plan to build a Formula 1 racetrack has stalled due to structural issues and high costs, sources reveal. Initially flagged off with a feasibility study, the project now faces uncertainties.

Published

on

Gujarat’s GIFT City’s ambitious plan to build a racetrack for holding Formula 1 (F1) races has come to a grinding halt just four months after initiating a feasibility study and selecting consultants, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Earlier this year, on March 11, the Gujarat Sports Authority announced that top international F1 racetrack designers were invited to present the feasibility of constructing an F1 racetrack at GIFT City. The project saw intense competition among global designers, with the consortium of renowned German designer Hermann Tilke and India’s Arcop architects emerging as the frontrunner for the feasibility study.

GIFT City (Photo: Amit Dave/Reuters)

However, GIFT City’s plan has been halted, insiders revealed. “Designers had given feedback that given the layout of GIFT City, it may be difficult to build a racetrack that conforms to F1 standards due to structural issues,” said one source.

The financial implications also pose a significant hurdle. Estimates place the cost of building such a racetrack between Rs 5,000 and 10,000 crore.

R.S. Ninama, Director General of the Gujarat Sports Authority, and Hermann Tilke have not responded to inquiries from ET. Another source indicated that the project might be integrated into a larger plan for developing infrastructure for the Olympics. “So, you may get a racetrack, but not one that can host F1 races,” the source added.

GIFT City, located in Gandhinagar, has been developed as a financial hub. The city is aimed at attracting international businesses with various tax incentives. The government is focusing on enhancing the city’s livability by developing entertainment and leisure infrastructure. Notable projects include an underwater aquarium, water sports facilities, and a retail zone featuring a 158-meter-high Ferris wheel.

This story has been derived from a story reported by Economic Times.

Continue Reading

Trending