2016 FORMULA 1 PIRELLI CHINESE GRAND PRIX
Key Strategic Moment
The Key Strategic Moment in China came after the safety car was deployed on lap 7. This allowed all the drivers who had started on the supersoft tires to pit, losing less time than they would at racing speeds. Scuderia Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was able to take further advantages and change a broken front wing, the start of a recovery which ended with a second place finish. Daniel Ricciardo was disadvantaged as he'd pitted a lap earlier for a puncture when leading.
James Allen on F1, UBS F1 Expert
What is Haas F1 Team's strategy for more success in China?
Haas F1 Team has finished sixth and fifth in its first two Grands Prix due to bold strategy planning and execution. The car is fast through corners and has good top speed. It seems to work well on softer tires, as we saw in Bahrain. This means another aggressive three-stop strategy could work well, from a likely 9th or 10th place grid start, as some rivals will try to do two stops.
Back to the drawing board – How did Haas perform in China?
The Haas F1 Team came crashing down to earth in China after scoring points in its first two Grands Prix. The US team finished 14th and 19th. The team again tried a strategy centered around the softer tires but couldn’t make the desired progress. Esteban Gutiérrez tried a long first stint, but didn’t have the car pace and his DRS wasn’t working so overtaking was difficult. Romain Grosjean’s hopes of challenging for points were effectively ended by a first lap collision.
Race Strategy Briefing
There are two unusual corners, turn 1 and turn 13, which are long and drawn-out. The first is a 270 degree, tightening corner which stresses the left front tire.
On Shanghai's 1,170 meter straight, one of the longest in the season, these hybrid turbo cars will travel at more than 340 km/h this year.
Getting the front tires working well is vital to a good lap time. Due to the two long right hand corners, the left front gets over stressed and is the limiting factor in any strategy plan.
Shanghai's long straight means that overtaking is quite easy. This helps with planning a multi-stop strategy, as coming out into traffic isn't the problem it can be elsewhere.
The 16 corners, two of them very long at 270 degrees, mean that the full throttle time is not as high as might be expected.
April 17 | 14:00 local time, 8:00 CET
Added to the F1 calendar in the 2004 season, the Shanghai circuit was designed by Hermann Tilke. 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 AMG Petronas F1 Team.
Circuit length 5.303 km
Race distance 307.574 km
2015 race winner Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Pirelli allocation supersoft, soft, medium
Because of its layout, with some long, tight corners, a significant percentage of the lap time in Shanghai is spent turning and so this is a circuit where the cars are limited by the way they use their front tires. This will be even more true this year as the Pirelli tires are set to feature a more noticeable performance cliff. Teams will have to work around how many laps their car‘s front tires will last before performance drops off and they must plan their strategy around their relative strength or weakness in this area compared to the opposition. Overtaking is easy here because of the long straight (1.17km), so teams can plan for the fastest strategy, knowing that passing through traffic will not be a huge problem.
In collaboration with James Allen