Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Chinese Grand Prix - driver preview quotes 28 Sep 2006

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, 28 September 2006 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, 28 September 2006 Takuma Sato (JPN) Super Aguri F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, 28 September 2006 Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, 28 September 2006

Just three rounds to go and both drivers' and constructors' titles are still wide open. The men at the wheel look ahead to what looks set to be another thrilling contest in Shanghai this weekend…

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren
2005 Qualifying - 3rd, 2005 Race - 2nd

“The Shanghai track is great to drive; it is quite wide so can be good for overtaking in places. You do need good mechanical grip for the slower corners, this is really important for Turn 13 as it exits out onto the long back straight, that is over one kilometre, so having good speed as you leave the corner is vital. The final hairpin, Turn 14, at the end of the back straight is probably the most obvious overtaking opportunity. You can get into a slipstream, as speeds reach nearly 330 km/h, and the go for position under braking as you drop down to around 85 km/h. Turn four is also pretty important, as you need to take quite a precise line through Turn five, which is very long to be quick. So far in China I have finished in third and second and my aim for this year is to take the top step of the podium with McLaren!”

Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

“Since the Italian Grand Prix three weeks ago, we tested at Silverstone for two days. My programme with the team focused on Michelin tyres for Shanghai and Japan, alongside set-up for both races, it was a good session. I am now really looking forward to getting back to driving in Shanghai. I drove there last year on Friday with the team, and really enjoyed the track. It is the kind of circuit that you understand really quickly, so can start pushing to the limits right away. I completed 50 laps last year, so I have some good experience of the track and can’t wait to race on it. The track has some pretty fast straights, and our set-up with the adequate downforce is low enough to ensure we are quick along them.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari
2005 Qualifying - 6th, 2005 Race - DNF

“I think that we can be hopeful. We have every chance of taking the title though, in my opinion, it will be tough. We should not underestimate Renault and will be focusing solely on our strengths. We will be going all out in the final races and we will see what the season has in store for us.

"It is true that this race has never gone particularly well. However, Rubens (Barrichello) won the first ever race and this means that our car should do well. I am sure things will go well this time. As I have already said, it will not be easy but it will be exciting and unpredictable until the end.”

Fernando Alonso, Renault
2005 Qualifying - 1st, 2005 Race - 1st

“It's one of the circuits that I enjoy. It has been designed to give overtaking opportunities, especially at the end of the long back straight, and that helps make the races spectacular. I think we can expect an exciting race.

“We have been saying all year that you cannot predict what will happen on track, with the competition being so close. Instead, we are focused on our objectives, and that means qualifying at the front and winning the race. That will be the target.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault
2005 Qualifying - 2nd, 2005 Race - 4th

“The Chinese Grand Prix is a fantastic race. The circuit is amazing, one of the best in the world with a challenging layout and incredible facilities. The people are friendly as well, very enthusiastic about Formula One, and we always get a big crowd on Sunday for the race. This is a really good Grand Prix.

“I think this will be a good circuit for the R26. You have to work hard to find a good balance, because the car has to be good under heavy braking but also stable for the quick corners, so you have to tune the aero and mechanical balance carefully. We were very quick there last year, with Fernando winning and I was fourth even with a drive-through penalty. I believe we can be very competitive in Shanghai.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota
2005 Qualifying - 12th, 2005 Race - 15th

"Unlike most of the drivers on the grid I have only competed in one Chinese Grand Prix - I missed the first event in 2004 because I had only just joined Toyota. So last year's race is my only experience of the circuit and my only visit to Shanghai - I did race in Macau when I was in Formula Three. At last year's Grand Prix I was impressed both by the city of Shanghai and by the facilities at the circuit. I didn't have the best of races because I lost ground when the safety car came out at just the wrong time for me. But I still enjoyed trying the Shanghai International Circuit which has some good features. It is a mixture of slow twists and long straights so it is a challenge to find a suitable compromise for race set-up. Turn 1 is unique, and it takes you from top gear to first as you go round it. There are a couple of passing chances, one at the end of the long back straight and also into Turn 4. After my two points in Italy, we will go to China hoping to score well to set us up for the final leg of the season."

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota
2005 Qualifying - 9th, 2005 Race - 3rd

“I have good memories of last year's Chinese Grand Prix, when I took my second podium for Toyota. That was the result of great strategy work and it was a great way to cap off my first year with the team. I still haven't seen much of the city of Shanghai but I do remember that the traffic is crazy! The Shanghai International Circuit is an impressive facility, with a combination of technically challenging corners without being too high speed. It was well designed and it has some features that are unique, especially the long corners. Turn 1 is so long that you almost complete an entire circle so you need to be committed to stay on the limit all the way round without making a mistake. The whole circuit is very wide so there are chances to overtake, particularly at the end of the long straight into Turn 14. That makes the track a fun place to race and I look forward to trying to bring home another good result this Sunday."

Mark Webber, Williams
2005 Qualifying - 10th, 2005 Race - 7th

“I like going to China. It’s a very nice city and the track is amazing, it’s probably one of the best we compete at all season. A Tilke-designed circuit, it’s inevitably very demanding for the drivers and the car, but I enjoy driving there. The race only made its debut on the calendar in 2004, but the fans are getting more and more interested in Formula One, which is great because it’s such an important market for us. It wasn’t a great result for the team in Monza so we’ll be looking to finish the season with some points scoring finishes.”

Nico Rosberg, Williams
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

“I’ve had a quiet time since Monza, just relaxing at home and concentrating on my training. I haven’t raced at Shanghai before, so I obviously don’t know the track at all. I went to the race there last year, just to see how a Grand Prix weekend goes in preparation for this year, and thought that the track looks great. I’ll have my work cut out for me on Friday to learn the circuit as quickly as I can, but overall I’m looking forward to driving there and I’m really hoping we will have a good weekend.”

Rubens Barrichello, Honda
2005 Qualifying - 8th, 2005 Race - 12th

"The Shanghai circuit is extremely impressive but more importantly it has a challenging track layout. The venue holds some pretty special memories for me as I won the very first Grand Prix there from pole position in 2004 which was a great weekend. With three races left of the season, my aim is to put the car into a podium position and I believe that we can deliver the performance to achieve this. The tests in Jerez have been very positive with developments on the aero and electronics packages, plus intensive evaluation of the tyres for Shanghai and the final races. Importantly the car and engine were very reliable and we hope that this will enable us to continue the strong performance that we have shown over the last three races."

Jenson Button, Honda
2005 Qualifying - 4th, 2005 Race - 8th

"The Chinese Grand Prix has quickly become one of my favourite races on the calendar and the atmosphere at the race for the last two years has been fantastic. The circuit is very technical and quite demanding for the drivers but also fun to drive, with the stand-out feature being the length of the corners, particularly turn one which is tough on the neck. We had a good result in Shanghai in 2004 when I finished in P2 behind Rubens and I think that the track will suit our car this year. Our final test of the season in Jerez went well this week and we hope to end the season on a high note with some good performances at the final three races."

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

"This is only the second time I'll have raced in Shanghai, as I was injured for the Grand Prix last season. However, I found our first year there a great experience. Shanghai is a fascinating city and the atmosphere by the river is particularly special. But it's also full of contrasts. On the one hand, you have the hyper-modern and probably fastest-growing city in the world, while a few meters down the road there is abject poverty and the people don't even have toilets.

“The circuit is very impressive. Although it's so modern, it still has genuine character. The first time I had a look around, it gave me the feeling that it had always been there - it fits in so well. The first corner after the start/finish straight is very unusual. You approach it at high speed and don't lift off on the entry. But then the corner tightens up more and more, forcing you to shift down into second gear."

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

"I'm really looking forward to the race in Shanghai. This will be the first time I'll have lined up for the BMW Sauber team outside Europe. I've only ever raced once on Chinese soil, and that was in the former Portuguese colony of Macau. The street circuit there is by far my favourite track. In 2004 and 2005 I finished second there in the legendary Formula 3 race. The layout of the Shanghai International Circuit looks very interesting and it is
characterised by a couple of very original corners.

“When I drive it for the first time, I will be able to draw on the F1 race experience I've now built up. It will be my fourth grand prix and I hope it will be a successful one. The Chinese mentality is very different from our European way of life, but I have very good memories of my previous stays and I'm really happy to be going there again. I will arrive in Shanghai one week before the event in order to acclimatize not only to the time change and the heat, but also to the surroundings."

Sebastian Vettel , BMW Sauber
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

"When I think of China I think of small people, the Great Wall, cheap electronics, a foreign language, foreign culture and writing which leaves me totally blank. I've only been to Hong Kong and Macau before. In Hong Kong there are sometimes some unusual smells in the air, but it was nice to see the city. There is a Walk of Fame like the one in Hollywood, with hand-prints from people like Jackie Chan, and that was fun. Macau is one of my favourite tracks, but I've not yet seen anything of this huge country where so many people live. It would be nice to see beyond the cities.

“The circuit is a new one and looks quite tricky. I have seen a lot of drivers on television making a lot of mistakes. There's a high-speed straight, another straight and a hairpin corner. It will be difficult to find the right braking point. I'm looking forward to gaining a lot of new experiences in China."

Takuma Sato, Super Aguri
2005 Qualifying - 17th, 2005 Race - DNF

"Shanghai is a unique circuit which is challenging and quite difficult from a visibility point of view, especially Turns 1 to 2 and onto Turn 3, which is an interesting one. Before the back straight there is a high banking section which is quite exciting to go through and is important as you are going into the long straight which has heavy braking and a few overtaking opportunities. The fact that the race is only one week before Suzuka means that it is incredibly important for us to have a good race in China and for us to keep up the good momentum for the Japanese Grand Prix."

Sakon Yamamoto, Super Aguri
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

"It will be my first visit to Shanghai and I am really looking forward to it. It will be nice for me to go back to an Asian race for the first time since joining Formula One as an Asian driver. I have been working hard on my preparations for the Chinese Grand Prix and I know the circuit pretty well now. We tested our Shanghai package at Silverstone last week and so I think that we have collected good data for the race and I hope that the SA06 will suit this exciting circuit."

More to follow.