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China preview quotes - Red Bull, Ferrari, Virgin, Renault & more 14 Apr 2011

(L to R): Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 10 April 2011 Timo Glock (GER) Virgin Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Race Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 27 March 2011 (L to R): Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) with Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 10 April 2011 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Team Lotus.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 7 April 2011 (L to R): Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren with Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 10 April 2011

With the Malaysian and Chinese Grands Prix falling on successive weekends, the teams barely have time to catch their breath as they make the move from Sepang to Shanghai. Another of the new generation of circuits, it presents drivers and engineers with some very technical challenges. And as in Kuala Lumpur, the weather can often play in important role in the race’s outcome…

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2010 Qualifying - 1st, 2010 Race - 6th

“Looking to China, we have good memories from there two years ago. We struggled to repeat it last year, but we will go back there and try again. I like the track and I’ve got some good points there in the past. Generally the overseas races are special, as you go there a few days earlier than usual, so you get to see different things. I enjoy that and am looking forward to it.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull
2010 Qualifying - 2nd, 2010 Race - 8th

“China will be similar to Australia, as it’s pretty cold when we go there. I think it will be an interesting race with the rear wing due to the long straights.”

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
2010 Qualifying - 3rd, 2010 Race - 4th

“As we had already seen in Australia, once again in Malaysia, our race pace was much better than that in qualifying. In Sepang, both Felipe and I were running at a pace good enough to get to the podium and that was an important indication, even if we did not end up getting all we could have done. Clearly, I would like to always be fighting for the win but, at the moment, one car, Vettel’s Red Bull, seems to be out of reach. In Shanghai, we are due to try a new front wing and a few other aero updates: let’s hope they bring us something, but we will have to evaluate them very carefully in Friday’s practice. Our aim in this Grand Prix will be similar to the one in Malaysia, which means to make the best of qualifying and try to exploit any opportunity that comes our way during the race. It should be much cooler this weekend than in Sepang, more like what we experienced in Melbourne. Starting on Friday, we will see how the tyres behave and once again we have the hard as the prime compound and the soft as the option.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari
2010 Qualifying - 7th, 2010 Race - 9th

“In China we will have some updates and something new to be tested on Friday, whereas Turkey in a month’s time is when we can realistically expect to bring some significant updates for the car. I have finished twice on the podium in China, with a second and third place, but last year I was only ninth in that wet race. It’s a nice circuit to drive even if the weather can be unpredictable. In the past, even with the long straight, overtaking was quite difficult but the combination of the long straight and the moveable rear wing should make passing easier. There is no panic at Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, because we know panic does not achieve anything. Everyone has to work together and push hard to solve these problems we currently have and move in the direction that will see us secure better results as soon as possible.”

Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
“The main problem we need to deal with is our performance the day before the race in qualifying which is not at the same level as the teams that are currently best. It is vital for us to react immediately, because we have seen how rapidly things can change in Formula One. Back at the factory we have to have a big push to understand our lack of performance. We need to push a lot to upgrade our aero package because aerodynamics is the key to it all. We will try and bring as quickly as possible the upgrades, maybe already in China, that we require. We need to understand as soon as possible why the performance on track has not matched the figures coming out of the wind tunnel. If we have not a clear picture, then we need to change the direction of the work we are doing in terms of development.”

Timo Glock, Virgin
2010 Qualifying - 19th, 2010 Race - DNF

“I was pleased with our weekend in Malaysia and while we’re waiting for these steps to move us forward, we must try to maintain the small signs of good progress we are showing at the races. The Chinese Grand Prix is always a great race and I’m looking forward to competing there again for the fifth time. It’s always interesting to come to Shanghai. It’s another demanding circuit where you can reach very high speeds on the long back straight between Turns 13 and 14 before braking hard at the hairpin turn. The demands for racing at this Chinese track are to have a car that is stable under braking as well as a lot of traction to exit the corners well. I was pleased with our weekend in Malaysia and while we’re waiting for these steps to move us forward, we must try to maintain the small signs of good progress we are showing at the races.”

Jerome D’Ambrosio, Virgin
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“I want to keep making small but solid steps and keep moving forward. I’m ready for my third Formula One race weekend. After Australia and Malaysia, I can say that I have already learned a lot and this is going to help me keep focused for the next races. And this is what I want, to keep making small but solid steps and keep moving forward together with the team. I am very pleased with how I have started the season and I hope to continue like this.”

John Booth, Virgin team principal
“The best job we can do right now is to keep pushing ourselves operationally and strategically, as we have done over the first two races, to ensure that when the car is improved we are in the strongest possible position to take advantage of every opportunity. After Malaysia, we move on to another Herman Tilke designed track, which always provide a bit of everything for the drivers. It’s the third and final long-haul race before the start of the European season in Turkey, where we are planning to upgrade the car. The Shanghai International Circuit is a 5.451 km circuit that is all about high-speed straights and a real variety of turns, making it a demanding track for the drivers. Turns One, Two and Three are very tight and seem never-ending. The back straight is so long that it even gives the driver time to adjust the settings on the car. It’s also usually quite windy at this part of the track, and this affects the downforce, as it can make the car unstable in the corners at the beginning and the end of the long straight if the wind direction is unpredictable. Whilst the hard work to move us forward takes place behind the scenes at our technical base in the UK, we’re in a bit of a holding pattern performance wise. The best job we can do right now is to keep pushing ourselves operationally and strategically, as we have done over the first two races, to ensure that when the car is improved we are in the strongest possible position to take advantage of every opportunity. This is the first back-to-back race of the season and there are only seven days between the two races, so a tough challenge for the team logistically, but one which I am sure we will easily rise to.”

Nick Heidfeld, Renault
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“It’s a nice circuit because it’s not like the others - there are some unusual corners and a long straight, which is good for overtaking. (Whether we can fight for more podiums) really depends on the upgrade packages the other teams bring to China, which might change the pecking order a little bit. We had a good upgrade in Sepang, and our package this weekend in Shanghai is not as big. But I think it’s a circuit where our car will go well because we have good top speed, which should pay off down the long back straight.”

Vitaly Petrov, Renault
2010 Qualifying - 14th, 2010 Race - 7th

“It’s quite interesting, but it’s not easy. The first corner is different because it goes on forever. It’s not my favourite track, but I obviously have some good memories because I scored my first points there last year. As we saw in Malaysia, you really don’t know what to expect from the tyres and you also have to remember that the DRS will probably have a big impact there, as it did in Sepang. I think we can have another good weekend. I feel very happy with the balance of the car at the moment. It’s easy to drive and I believe we will be competitive. Of course, there is still a lot of work to do and we must keep improving if we want to fight with the big teams.”

Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
“Two races, two podiums! But what is more important is that these podiums came on two very different tracks with two different drivers. It shows that we have a car that is quite adaptable. It also confirms that we can count on both our drivers to race hard and fight for podiums. If we can have a clean weekend (in China) with both cars then hopefully we can be pushing for good points or even another podium - why not?”

James Allison, Renault technical director
“The car has scored podiums on two very different tracks and has performed well in the temperate conditions of Melbourne and the heat of Sepang. It all bodes well for the season ahead. But we still have work to do on both qualifying and race pace before we can call ourselves properly competitive. Shanghai is a circuit that should suit our car. We brought a reasonable upgrade package to Malaysia and will have some more aero tweaks for China.”

Rubens Barrichello, Williams
2010 Qualifying - 11th, 2010 Race - 12th

"I like Shanghai a lot. I like the layout of the circuit and I have good memories here, having won the inaugural race in 2004. We have an upgrade to the car this weekend which I hope will improve our speed and overall performance. It hasn't been a good start to the season for us as we are yet to finish a race where we belong, but I'm hoping the upgrade will help us to move forward."

Pastor Maldonado, Williams
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

"China is a completely new track for me so I need to learn the layout as well as work very hard with the team to solve the problems we had in Malaysia. I know there is a very short time between races, but I think we have the potential to improve and to become more competitive. It's going to be a bit cooler than in Malaysia but it is a very technical circuit so difficult to get a good overall set-up. One key feature is the first corner as it's one of the longest corners of the whole season. I have had a day in our simulator in Grove to begin learning the circuit and now I'm really looking forward to getting there."

Sam Michael, Williams technical director
"The corners in Shanghai are all heavily loaded on entry, particularly Turn One. This normally requires a strong front end for the driver to place the car accurately. Traction is also important with there being four slow speed corner exits around the lap. Track temperatures are cooler again in Shanghai, much like they were during the Australian Grand Prix. We are still aiming for a top ten qualifying performance and to get some points on the board in Shanghai. We also have a new exhaust system for Rubens' car that we will test and evaluate on Friday."

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“I like the Shanghai International Circuit, it’s a fast, challenging track. I raced there in Formula One back in 2005 and also in A1GP, so I know what we’re up against. The conditions are very different to Malaysia, with lower temperatures, so we must try and adapt the F111 to the track and try and get the most out of the new package. The target for the team is to qualify in a good position and, personally, I’m looking to finish the race.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT
2010 Qualifying - 18th, 2010 Race - DNF

“I’ve got very good memories from the Chinese Grand Prix. I drove one of my best races here back in 2007 when I finished sixth with Toro Rosso. It was a tough race but I really enjoyed it. The circuit isn’t too technical but has a very nice shape which allows a lot of overtaking, also the weather is a little bit crazy so the races tend to be a lot of fun, I’m looking forward to racing there again. After the weekend in Malaysia we are lot more confident heading into this race. We are confident the team will work better, we’ve got a lot more data to work on and have a better idea of what the car needs. We also have some upgrades which will help us be quicker and get closer to our competitors. We are aiming to qualify closer to our main rivals, maybe even ahead of them. Once again we are targeting finishing the race and getting more information on the car in order to be better prepared for the European races.”

Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
“It’s always nice to be in China. The weather conditions will be very different from Malaysia, temperatures will be much lower so we’ll face the race in a different way. The track is quite impressive and we’ll be looking to make the most of our new parts on the car. We will have small improvements regarding the rear wing and, overall, aerodynamic improvements. So there will be small improvements, which are all part of the update package for Turkey.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes
2010 Qualifying - 9th, 2010 Race - 10th

"I am, of course, looking forward to racing in Shanghai as challenges fire me up as much as everybody else in our team. We know that we have little time to build after the race in Malaysia but we are learning with every lap that we race, so we are heading there with an open mind and full of ambition to do better than in the opening races. We know that our fans in China are very enthusiastic and really get behind us, so we will definitely try to put on a good show for them."

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2010 Qualifying - 4th, 2010 Race - 3rd

"The Shanghai International Circuit is an enjoyable challenge and I have good memories from the race last year when I finished on the podium in third place. Our start to the season this year has been tougher but I'm looking forward to turning the wheel in a more positive direction this weekend. I like driving this track and have been pretty quick here in the past. We could have qualified higher in Malaysia so we know that more performance is there, when every system is operating correctly on the car. Hopefully we can improve further and make that happen in China. We are working on it very hard."

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
"With the back-to-back races taking place in Malaysia and China on consecutive weekends, there is little time to make significant changes to the car ahead of our visit to Shanghai. However, we are using the few days available to undertake a thorough review of our first two race weekends and identify those areas where we can make improvements for the Chinese Grand Prix. The hard work will continue at the factory while we are in Shanghai to ensure that we are in a stronger position for the start of the European season. Looking ahead to this weekend, the Shanghai circuit is an extremely impressive facility and one of those tracks which produces exciting races year after year. China is a very important market for both Formula One and Mercedes-Benz, and we are very much looking forward to our visit."

Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"This weekend's Chinese Grand Prix is the second race in eight days and a logistical challenge for all of the teams, who must transfer their equipment from Malaysia to China in a very short space of time. The circuit characteristics in Shanghai are different to Sepang. Whereas both tracks include a similar proportion of straights, there were more fast corners in Sepang; Shanghai features only two of them, and requires good braking stability, traction and straight-line speed. Temperatures are expected to be below 20 degrees, roughly half the level we experienced last weekend in Malaysia, and it has been the general experience so far with the Pirelli tyres that higher temperatures have helped to achieve more consistent lap times. We are expecting a difficult and challenging weekend for our team, like we had in Malaysia, where a finish in the lower part of the points rankings was the best that was achievable with our current technical package. However, our lap times in the later part of the race looked better relative to the competition than they had on Friday and Saturday. In China, we wish to continue to improve before we can make further necessary steps with our technical package during the three weeks before the start of the European season."

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
"So far I'm very pleased with the way that our tyres have helped the show, but I'm always impressed by the way that the teams and drivers learn so quickly: I'm sure they will be finding different solutions to make the tyres last longer all the time. So far we have accurately predicted two pit stops in Australia and three in Malaysia but we'll have to wait until we see the data after Friday free practice before having a completely clear idea of what to expect in China. Unlike Malaysia, where we provided the teams with an experimental tyre for free practice, we will give each team one extra set of the usual hard tyres for Friday's first free practice session - just as we did in Australia. We saw then that it worked well, allowing the teams to maximise their track time and prepare as thoroughly as possible for the race, so we'd like to give them the same opportunity again. The first two races have been absolutely thrilling; I'm hoping that we'll see the same again in China!"

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus
2010 Qualifying - 21st, 2010 Race - 14th

"I enjoyed my time in Malaysia but now it's about building on the performance there and looking ahead to China. It’ll be cooler than in Malaysia for sure, but for me the heat isn't a problem anywhere we go, and obviously that's the same for the cold! However, pace wise, I think that if we can repeat our performance in the race in Malaysia then it means we can repeat it anywhere in the world. I do enjoy driving in China - it’s similar to Malaysia in that it's a modern circuit, fairly small and it has some pretty heavy braking zones. The DRS will come into play on the main straight and I think it'll be another good race."

Jarno Trulli, Lotus
2010 Qualifying - 20th, 2010 Race - DNF

"China is one of those tracks where I have never been too lucky, so it’s always a bit of a challenge. Despite that, we go there in a good position after getting pretty much the best out of the car in Malaysia. We learnt a lot from Saturday and Sunday there, and that will be very useful for us in Shanghai where obviously it will be a different challenge, but hopefully we can have a better shot at qualifying and let's see what happens on Sunday."

Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
“We head to China after taking a good step forward in Malaysia, but we are all focused on the reality of where we are now and know there we have a lot of work ahead of us. The main aim for me now is to improve our reliability and make sure both cars cross the finish line on Sunday. We have shown there is pace in the car, and there will be more to come when we start putting the updates on in Europe, but now we have to make sure we give the drivers the time they need on track to optimise the setup and the only way to do that is to avoid reliability issues."

Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
"In China we have Luiz Razia and Davide Valsecchi driving for us in FP1 and I think Shanghai will be another interesting weekend for us, especially as we have had two races so far in such different conditions. In Melbourne the tyres lasted longer than I think everyone expected and then in Malaysia there was much higher drop-off and multiple stops as a result. In China we will all be in slightly unknown territory with the tyres and the cooler temperatures will mean the most important goal for us will be to maximise our track time on Friday and Saturday morning, getting the cars set up properly for qualifying and bridging the gap to make it into Q2."

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2010 Qualifying - 6th, 2010 Race - 2nd

“It’s always best to put a disappointing weekend behind you, and, as always, I’ll make a positive of the experience in Malaysia and learn from it. With China only a few days away, it’s the best possible way to move on: I’m already throwing myself into my preparations - I’ll spend a few days training and come back feeling fresh for Shanghai.

“What’s been most encouraging is that our pace is still extremely strong: Jenson drove a fantastic race and was able to narrow the gap to Sebastian during the closing laps, and I think we have the pace to continue taking the battle to Red Bull this weekend.

“In both races, we’ve seen that Red Bull hasn’t been able to achieve its full potential, and I think it’s important that we keep applying the pressure to make sure they can’t afford to make mistakes.

“I’ve also been told by someone on the team that, of all the drivers in Formula One to have only driven for one team, I’m now the driver who’s raced in the most Grands Prix. I’m told that Jim Clark drove 72 races for Lotus, and Malaysia was my 73rd race with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

“And it also makes me feel very humble - I never saw Jim Clark race, but I know that he’ll always be remembered as one of the greats, and as a loyal Lotus driver. Loyalty’s extremely important and I’m proud to be mentioned in the same breath as him. It only gives me even more determination to bounce back stronger than ever.”

Jenson Button, McLaren
2010 Qualifying - 5th, 2010 Race - 1st

“I really love the Shanghai circuit and the city itself. Unfortunately, I’m only visiting for a couple of days, but the city has a great vibe - there are a lot of fantastic restaurants. Although I won’t get to see too much, I’m really looking forward to China.

“As for the track, it’s a good modern circuit with a couple of interesting touches. The first corner is quite unique: you enter it at full-throttle in seventh gear, then come down through the gears as the corner continually tightens. It’s a very long corner - it’s all about being patient - and there’s a little bump right on the entry, which can make it quite tricky too.

“Along the massive back straight, even without DRS, I still think there’ll be plenty of opportunity for overtaking - especially if we see the same sort of close racing as we witnessed in Malaysia. If that’s where they put the DRS zone for the race, then I think we’ll see some spectacular passing - and possibly even re-passing - down that back straight.

“Off the back of two successive podium finishes for the team, we’re not only hopeful of maintaining our finishing record, but of improving it too. We’ve made no secret of our desire to take the fight to Red Bull, and we’re fully aware that stronger opposition will make it harder for them to have a smooth and uninterrupted weekend.

“As we expected, Malaysia showed that the sharp-end of the grid is incredibly competitive, and that there are at least four teams that can expect to fight for the podium this weekend.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“Coming just a week after Malaysia, it’s essential that we maintain the thrust of our development programme in order to further close the gap to the front. To achieve that, we’ll be spending Friday evaluating a number of new components alongside our regular tyre and set-up programmes. We have a number of new parts that we want to evaluate on Friday - either for potential incorporation into our programme for the Shanghai race, or as part of longer-term development strategy. The development race is where this year’s world championship will be won or lost.

“But, equally, we ought to take nothing for granted: I’m extremely pleased that we’ve managed to achieve 100 per cent reliability in both Australia and Malaysia, and that our KERS Hybrid system, engineered so well by everyone at Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, has worked faultlessly during the first two Grands Prix.

“For this race, we know we have to step up the pressure: we’re looking to hit the ground running on Friday, maintain that momentum through Saturday, and be in with the best possible chance of taking victory on Sunday.”

Adrian Sutil, Force India
2010 Qualifying - 10th, 2010 Race - 11th

“It is quite an interesting, modern circuit with an extensive Paddock. The track has unique corners, with very long right handers where you really have to get everything right to gain an advantage. There are different lines you can take, so there are many ways to approach a lap, and the long straight where you can normally pass quite well. The weather can a little bit tricky with cold and sometimes wet conditions, but in general it is a Grand Prix I like. The metropolitan city is also exciting, with an amazing skyline, shopping and restaurants, it's usually a good weekend and I am happy to go there.”

Paul Di Resta, Force India
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“I am looking forward to the race in China. It is quite a technical track and one that I am keen to experience more as I had a small taste of it last year. It will be interesting to see how the DRS activation works with the rear wing in Shanghai because if it’s going to work anywhere that's where it will be because it has a very long straight. The corners are very long, with big radiuses. I visited Shanghai city twice last year, and it is huge with an amazing culture and great things to see, so it should be a good weekend.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India test and reserve driver
2010 Qualifying - 16th, 2010 Race - 15th

“The Shanghai circuit is a huge progressive facility and there are some nice corners on the track. For me there shall be some evaluation work of the prime tyres in FP1, driving Adrian's car for the first time; which is not a problem as I know all the team and engineers very well. Over a race weekend I also try to assist the engineers, to a certain extent, during our meetings. I listen to feedback from the other drivers for their experience of the track for my future reference and I speak to the engineers afterwards to see what kind of direction they are taking. The meetings also keep me up to date with the current facts of Formula One, so I am prepared to be in the car at any time should I need to be.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
“After a difficult winter testing here we are, two races in to the season, with two point's finishes. It's very pleasing to see how we have progressed over the last few weeks, by keeping our heads down and focussing on our game. The teams at Brackley and Silverstone have done a great job with the VJM004 so far, and with upgrades due for the coming races, I am optimistic that we shall be able to continue improving our form and making steps forward to increase our pace. We head to China with our heads held high and in good spirits for another successful race.”

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
2010 Qualifying - 15th, 2010 Race - DNF

“For me it is an exciting track and I have always had good results there in whatever I have driven. Last year it was not brilliant as I was the innocent victim in an accident immediately after the start. However, I hope this year we have good performances from qualifying and the race, as this is what we have to do there. China is a very big country and it is close to Japan. I like the food there, so I always enjoy going there and find it interesting. The circuit is very big and it is a shame it is so far away from the centre of Shanghai. I would not be confident to drive on their roads as I a little bit scared of their driving.”

Sergio Perez, Sauber
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“The Shanghai circuit is quite a challenging one, and I would say similar to Sepang. I know it from two races I competed in. This was an A1GP race back in 2007 and a round of GP2 Asia in 2009. I especially like the very fast straight with its hard braking point at the end. I hope I can do better there in qualifying than I did in Malaysia, but my main goal is to learn and get more experience. I enjoyed my times in Shanghai a lot, I’m looking forward to my third visit there and can’t wait to take the F1 car around that circuit.”

James Key, Sauber technical director
“With the small gap between Malaysia and China we are not planning to bring too many updates to the car, but we will have a few things to try. It is amazing for me going back to China, as it was the first race I had with the team last year, and a year has just flown past. I think, given the nature of the track, at the moment it could be quite good for our car. The track has some interesting challenges. It has a long straight at the back, some quite tricky slow speed corners in the middle of the lap and there are these unwinding and winding in profiles of corners, which are important for traction and braking stability, particularly under lateral load. It will be interesting to see how the tyres cope and the car copes with that, with much depending on how the weather conditions are. I think what we have seen between Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur is, with different track temperatures and surfaces, the tyres have behaved in quite a different way to what was expected. It will be interesting to see if that trend continues in China, or whether it will be a bit more predictable. Obviously the hope is we can continue to fight for points and show a decent level of performance.”

More to follow

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