Battle Royale in Shanghai

Battle Royale in Shanghai image

Text: Alex Yoong / Photos: | posted April 16, 2010 15:21

2010 Chinese Grand Prix

Shanghai, China sees the fourth round of the F1 World Championship. It has the distinction of having one of the longest straight on the F1 calendar with cars reaching 320kph.

This should provide the McLarens who pioneered the F-duct a bit of an advantage over the others. The F-duct causes the rear wing to stall on the straights, which then gives them an additional 6 to 8 kph more speed.

Other teams like Sauber and Williams have their own versions, but none of the other big 4 teams have it yet.

Overtaking opportunities

We saw in Sepang that the McLarens looked very quick because of the long straights there too, and if it wasn't for the rain, I felt Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton would have challenged for the win there.

Having the additional speed on the straights will mean that they can configure the car for more down force on the more technical parts of the circuit.

And vice versa, the other teams will look to cope with McLarens additional speed on the straights by compromising their setup by going for less down force.

The straight ends at Turn 14 which is a tight hairpin and should allow for some overtaking.

The Shanghai circuit is generally a technical circuit with a good mix of fast and slow corners. Most of the technical parts are in the first and second sector, with Turn 1 being very unique as it rises in elevation quite a bit while tightening up a lot at the same time.

This means the drivers find it hard to see which line is best and to judge their braking.

It is also a very smooth circuit, which means that teams will be running their cars very low to the ground and relatively stiff. Aerodynamically efficient cars like the Red Bull should be quick here.

All of the big four - McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes - bring updates for this circuit and it will be interesting to see who makes the biggest step forward.

Tight drivers' championship battle

As for the drivers' championship, it looks very close and I personally am a big fan of the new scoring system.

It still rewards consistency - Massa leads the championship while still having not won yet - but winners of races get rewarded more.

This is typified by Vettel, who won the third race of the season in the Malaysian Grand Prix, who is very much in the championship hunt despite having mechanical problems for the first two races.

Currently it looks like this: Massa on 39 followed by Alonso and Vettel on 37, then we have Jenson Button and Rosberg tied for 4th on 35 points with Hamilton and Kubica on 31 and 30 points respectively.

That's seven drivers within nine points of each other after three rounds!

It's going to be a great fight this year and I'm looking forward to the next battle this weekend in China.