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Shanghai here we come… 12 Oct 2005

Felipe Massa (BRA) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Brazil, 24 September 2005 Mark Webber (AUS) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Suzuka, Japan, 8 October 2005 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Brazil, 24 September 2005 Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Japanese Grand Prix, Race, Suzuka, Japan, 9 October 2005

Drivers look ahead to all-important final round of 2005

They’ve only been there once before, but the drivers can’t wait to get back to the Shanghai International Circuit, which last year threw up a thrilling race, with the top three finishers separated by less than 1.5 seconds. As season finale, the 2005 Chinese Grand Prix should prove even more emotional - not only will some drivers and their teams be bidding each other farewell, it will also be time to say goodbye to Sauber and Minardi in their current forms.

Felipe Massa, Sauber
2004 Qualifying - 4th, 2004 Race - 8th

“Shanghai is a fantastic place and this is a great race track. It has some good overtaking possibilities and is one of those places that gives a driver a lot of pleasure to race on. It is very technical and I have good memories of the place after starting fourth there in last year’s inaugural race and winning a Championship point.

“This will be a special weekend because it marks the last race for the Sauber
Petronas Team in its current form and for Peter Sauber as a Team Principal, and my last race with Sauber. I have many fond memories of both because my whole F1 racing career has been spent here. I hope I can do a good job and leave Peter with a nice parting gift, and I will be trying my very best for him this weekend.”

Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber
2004 Qualifying - 13th, 2004 Race - 11th

“I love the track at Shanghai. The layout is interesting and it’s difficult to drive. You can get a good rhythm there and though I don’t like the hairpin, the rest is challenging. I had a reasonable race there with Renault last year and it is not an overly physical circuit. It’ll be fun to finish the season there.

“China itself can be very stressful. The pace of life on the street there is very hectic, everybody beeping their car horns, massive traffic. It’s like being in a video game!”

Takuma Sato, BAR
2004 Qualifying - 9th, 2004 Race - 6th

"I am absolutely determined to have a strong race in my final grand prix for BAR Honda. Shanghai is an extremely impressive circuit in terms of the facilities and challenging track layout. Last year I had a good race from the back of the grid, and there are a number of good overtaking opportunities at this circuit. After positive tests during the past month, we believe we should have a strong package, so I am very excited about the last race of 2005."

Jenson Button, BAR
2004 Qualifying - 3rd, 2004 Race - 2nd

"The Chinese Grand Prix has become one of my favourites, so it's great to be heading there this week for the final race of the season. The Shanghai circuit is quite challenging and fun to drive. We were on the podium last year and we know it's a track that should suit this year's car. We did some good work in testing for the last couple of races and though I'm reluctant to make any predictions after a disappointing home race for the team in Japan, I think we will be stronger in China. We have a busy week ahead though looking at where things went wrong for us and what we can do to make sure we can step up again to end a tough season on a high note. I am looking forward to it."

Mark Webber, Williams
2004 Qualifying -12th, 2004 Race - 10th

“Last year’s inaugural Chinese Grand Prix was one I enjoyed a lot. I went to Beijing beforehand and visited the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. All those monuments and venues are very interesting and one really must go and see that part of the world. I think it’s a good thing that China is hosting a Formula One race, especially in Shanghai, which is an incredibly modern city.

“The circuit itself is unique, especially the first sector which has a great layout and includes a long back straight where you can get some good overtaking done. The facilities are world class and the atmosphere at the track is better than we anticipated it to be for a new venue. I enjoyed last year’s event and I’m now looking forward to returning.”

Antonio Pizzonia, Williams
2004 Qualifying - NA, 2004 Race - NA

“Shanghai is another new track for me, just like Suzuka, and another learning curve. I went to last year’s race though so I have some idea of what the track looks like. To get to know the layout a bit better I’ve been on the simulator in Grove and will watch last year’s GP, as I always do before a race. Most of the drivers say they enjoy the circuit so I am really looking forward to this, the last race of the year. Hopefully we can close the season with a good result for the team.”

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren
2004 Qualifying - 2nd, 2004 Race - 3rd

"I am hoping for a less eventful race this weekend in China! However, I am prepared to battle together with the team as much as we did in Japan, and more if necessary, to get the result we need. It is going to be an exciting race and we will all do what we can to take the title. I enjoyed driving at Shanghai last year, as it has a good mix of challenges, such as the really long straight with overtaking opportunities at each end, which saw some interesting racing. The track is generally very wide, however there are some places where it narrows down, including through the long turn one, which gets tighter and tighter. Following the Japanese race, I flew to Tokyo for a couple of days, and will travel to Shanghai on Thursday."

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren
2004 Qualifying - 11th, 2004 Race - 5th

"Following Japan, I hope I am able to have a more productive race in China to help try and win the Constructors' title with Team McLaren Mercedes. The MP4-20s are still awesome and with the team, I want to be able to make the most of that. The Shanghai International Circuit has a little bit of everything. I always like Tilke circuits; they seem to suit my driving style. The long back straight, where we reach over 330km/h, has a hairpin at the end, which is a great place to pass. Turn four is also fun, you need to get a good exit to get a good lap time, and it immediately goes into turn five, which is very long and you pull lots of g forces. I arrived in Shanghai on Monday and have spent my time relaxing in preparation for the race."

Pedro de la Rosa, third driver, McLaren
2004 Qualifying - NA, 2004 Race - NA

"This is the first time I will have driven at Shanghai and I am looking forward to it. Particularly as we are going into the race still fighting for the Championship. As is always the case, my work will focus on tyre selection with Michelin."

Fernando Alonso, Renault
2004 Qualifying - 6th, 2004 Race - 4th

“Shanghai is a special type of circuit, and quite different to Japan. But we have a new engine there, so I think we can be maybe a bit closer (to McLaren). I quite enjoy the circuit, it has some challenging corners and for sure, the R25 will be better there than our car was last year. I am going there to help win a championship.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault
2004 Qualifying - 7th, 2004 Race - 7th

“I am feeling good. It (China) is another demanding circuit, where the car needs good speed, good efficiency in the aerodynamics and a stable balance for the long corners. The R25 has been a great car all year, and I am sure it will be competitive there as well. We can put up a good fight, no question.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota
2004 Qualifying - NA, 2004 Race - NA

"The first session on Friday will be slightly strange to be finding my way around a track that everyone knows - but of course I have done that many times before during my first season in the sport. It makes the weekend slightly more interesting than usual but it doesn't affect anything. You just take ten laps to get used to the lines and that's it. From then on the weekend will be like any other. I don't really know anything about the circuit yet. I watched last year's race on the television but you can learn very little from that, just as you can't really understand anything from circuit maps and simulations. The closest I have been to China was when I raced in Macau when I was in F3. So I'm looking forward to my first visit to the country and hoping that we can finish the year on a high."

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota
2004 Qualifying - 5th, 2004 Race - DNF

"Last year's Chinese Grand Prix was my race return after three months away, so it was quite a challenging weekend in many respects. I found the Shanghai International Circuit to be really well designed with some unique characteristics, especially the long corners. It's a nice combination of being a technical circuit without being high speed. Turn 1 is a challenging corner coming almost full circle. You need to be committed through here because it is easy to make a mistake. Turn 13 is another very long corner, coming onto the long back straight which leads to arguably the best passing point of the lap at turn 14, a tight first gear corner. The circuit is wide and there are other chances to pass so driving there was good fun last year. Now I am looking forward to returning with Toyota for what promises to be an exciting end to a successful 2005 season."

Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan
2004 Qualifying - NA, 2004 Race - NA

"Once again this season, I will have to learn a new circuit as I have never driven in Shanghai but this will also be the case for my team mates. At least we will be on equal terms. In my opinion, the circuit seems quite modern and has different challenges to the other tracks we have been to this year particularly the last race at Suzuka. To drive a race in China will be a great experience and I am impatient to get there. Besides, with India being not too far, a lot of Indians fans are expected to come and support me. I will do my best to have a good result in the final Grand Prix of the season"

Tiago Monteiro, Jordan
2004 Qualifying - NA, 2004 Race - NA

"Shanghai will be the last race of the season. The year went so quickly; it seems it was only yesterday that we started at the Australian Grand Prix. It would be great to finish on a high note. As Japan, Shanghai will be a new track for me so I will spend most of the Friday learning the layout as well as focusing on our normal programme. From what I have seen, it looks amazing and some corners seem to be challenging. There also some opportunities to overtake so it should be an exciting race. I am looking forward to seeing it as well as the city."

Nicolas Kiesa, third driver, Jordan
2004 Qualifying - NA, 2004 Race - NA

"China is a circuit I have never been to so it will be quite difficult as I will have to learn yet another circuit. I have looked at a lot of data and it seems to be not too tricky to learn but the difficult bit is that the track is very varied. I will have to wait until I am there to see how it really is. My job will be mainly the tyre choice for the team for the weekend. I have tried to learn the track playing on a video game, however, I prefer to walk a few laps on a circuit than play for two hours. The video game just enables me to know when it turns right or left but walking on the circuit shows me what kind of asphalt, kerbs and alterations there are. I get much more information from walking than playing games and I feel much more prepared when I go out on my first lap."