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China preview quotes - Red Bull, Ferrari, Williams & more 11 Apr 2012

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 22 March 2012 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing talks with the media.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 22 March 2012 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 24 March 2012 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 25 March 2012 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 22 March 2012 Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 23 February 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 17 March 2012 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 23 March 2012 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula One Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 24 March 2012 Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula One Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 24 March 2012 Timo Glock (GER) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 23 March 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 23 March 2012 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 24 March 2012 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 18 March 2012 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 25  March 2012 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 23 March 2012 (L to R): Eric Boullier (FRA) Lotus F1 Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 18 March 2012 James Allison (GBR) Lotus F1 Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 16 March 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 22 March 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 24 March 2012 Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, 25 November 2011 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 22 March 2012 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 22 March 2012 Ross Brawn (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 Team Principal.
Formula One Testing, Day 4, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 24 February 2012 Norbert Haug (GER) Mercedes Sporting Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 7 October 2011 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 23 March 2012 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 22 March 2012 Mark Smith (GBR) Caterham Technical Director.
Formula One Testing, Day 4, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 24 February 2012 Tony Fernandes (MAL) Caterham Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 24  March 2012 Paul Hembery (GBR) Pirelli Motorsport Director with FanVision.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Shanghai International Circuit’s stunning architecture, high-speed straights and winding turns mean the teams are more than happy to journey back to Asia to enjoy the chance to race in China. Here senior personnel and the drivers contemplate their hopes for the event and explain why they count this track as one of their favourites…

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying - 1st, 2011 Race - 2nd

“The track in China is unique due to its size. The broad track leaves enough space for overtaking moves and there are very big run off areas - even the usually tight pit areas in Shanghai have a lot of space. I’ve had some good races there in the past, we got a great result in 2009 when we took the team’s first win and in 2011, when we were second. Hopefully we can get a strong finish and some more points.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying - 18th, 2011 Race - 3rd

“Shanghai is a track that has been pretty good to me in the past. I’m yet to notch up my first victory, but I’ve had some memorable podiums there, notably the extreme wet race in 2009 and my third place from 18th on the grid. I expect this year’s race to be as exciting, but clearly I’m looking to start in a much better position. It’s generally cool, so it’s very different to Malaysia. It’s going to be interesting to see how the long straight will affect people’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of top speeds; the flow of the rest of the circuit is something that I really enjoy.”

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
2011 Qualifying - 5th, 2011 Race - 7th

“Here we are in Shanghai for the start of the third race weekend of the year. For sure, arriving here in China as the leader of the Championship is something I would never have expected, at least given the way winter testing went. It means we have done a good job, managing to make use of all the potential at our disposal and making the most of every opportunity. I’m not expecting any surprises in this race, compared to what we saw in Australia and Malaysia. It’s true almost three weeks have gone by, but that does not mean there was enough time to completely turn the car around in such a short time: we will have a few small updates, but nothing particularly significant and on top of that, we can expect that the other teams will also bring some new parts. Therefore, we won’t change our approach to this Grand Prix: to get a good result, we will need to concentrate on ourselves, trying to be perfect and to exploit every possibility that might come our way over the weekend. I would say (in China) there is a great enthusiasm from the local people, especially the young ones. It’s always nice to experience the enthusiasm of the fans, especially so in a country where Formula One is not part of its history. It means the spectacle and excitement that our sport provides is still very attractive.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari
2011 Qualifying - 6th, 2011 Race - 6th

“China is a big country, but even bigger is the enthusiasm the Chinese have for Formula One! I have to say it’s hard to find another place among the many we visit during the season where there is a greater sense of passion from the fans: maybe only in Italy and Brazil do you get a similar level. I arrived in Shanghai two days ago and found so many people already waiting for me at the airport, with presents for me and Felipinho. I like this warmth and this enthusiasm which energises me a lot. There is so much energy coming off this city too: enormous, chaotic, call it what you will, but it’s certainly alive. I really hope I can have a normal Grand Prix without problems, right from Friday: that is fundamental to being able to finally get a good result. I know it won’t be easy, also because I don’t think we can expect any major new elements, at least in the short term. We will have to try and squeeze every last drop out of what we have, as Fernando has managed to do in both Australia and Malaysia.”

Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
“Shanghai is a good mixture. There are long low speed corners where you need a good front end and there’s a requirement to brake and turn in at the same time, so carrying speed through the first corner into the second is particularly interesting. There are some reasonably high speed corners too and a 1.3 kilometre straight with the DRS zone at the end of it should make it interesting for the race.”

Pastor Maldonado, Williams
2011 Qualifying - 17th, 2011 Race - 18th

“Shanghai is one of my favourite circuits on the calendar so I am really looking forward to the race. The circuit has a nice combination of slow and medium speed corners and good sequences that are fun to drive. It is also very challenging because it is difficult to get close to the car in front to take advantage of the long DRS zone. We have shown good pace in the first two races and hopefully we can continue to improve here and pick up some points.”

Bruno Senna, Williams
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“The car is performing well and showing strong pace so I am confident about our chances in China. I have not raced there for two years so I will have to work hard to re-learn the track, but I have good memories of the circuit because it has a good mix of high speed and low speed corners and good overtaking opportunities. I had a good race in Malaysia and hopefully I can continue that form in Shanghai.”

Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer
“Having secured our first points of the season in Malaysia with what is a much improved and competitive car the team are eager to move onto Shanghai as soon as possible. The fundamental characteristic of the circuit is that it is aggressive on the tyres and the track will prove a stern test for the FW34 and will be a good indication of how improved our tyre management is compared to last season. Pirelli are bringing the medium (white band) and soft (yellow band) tyres as the prime and option respectively. Whilst having one of the highest maximum speeds of any circuit, overall brake severity is low to medium and most other performance metrics are of a medium severity. The loss through the pit lane is high and the chance of a safety car is quite high too, with typically one per race. The weather can be pretty changeable in Shanghai with large temperature swings and the chance of rain - although hopefully not so dramatic as that encountered during the last race in Kuala Lumpur!”

Paul di Resta, Force India
2011 Qualifying - 8th, 2011 Race - 11th

“China is a great place and Shanghai is a city I enjoy visiting. It’s such a big place, there is a lot to see and I enjoy it even more each time I go there. The track has some unusual features. Turn one is very long and feels like it goes on forever. The key to getting it right is how much entry speed you can carry into the corner. You also have to look out for one of the biggest bumps of the year at the corner entry, which makes it difficult. The best chance (to overtake) is Turn One or into the very tight hairpin of Turn 14, which widens on the entry and makes it difficult to defend. We also saw the effectiveness of DRS last year, which helped produce some good racing and it should be the same this year.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“It’s not my favourite race of the year, but they’ve done a good job to build a really impressive facility and it’s a fun track to drive. It’s difficult to predict how well we will do there, but given how close the grid is at the moment I think it should be a good show for everyone who is watching.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
“After two races the 2012 season appears to have all the ingredients needed to serve up a spectacular year of racing. Already the fans have enjoyed two thrilling races and the intensity of the competition across the grid is sure to capture everybody’s attention. I said last year that the competition in the midfield was close, but this year it seems to be even more so with the majority of the grid capable of fighting for points. It’s a good situation for Formula One, but it also means points are harder to come by. It’s encouraging that we have scored points in both races and that will be our aim once again in China. I have to congratulate Paul and Nico on their excellent drives in Malaysia. They are only in their second full seasons of Formula One, but they both showed their maturity in the difficult conditions. At times Paul was one of the fastest cars on the circuit, excelling in the conditions, and it’s clear that we can expect another strong season from him. I was also delighted to see Nico pick up his first points with us after such a strong showing. In terms of car development, the factory at Silverstone continues to work at full capacity to improve our performance. The first two races have given us a great deal of information to work with and we will put it to good use in the coming races.”

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT
2011 Qualifying - 24th, 2011 Race - 23rd

"We took a step forward in Malaysia and our aim is definitely to carry the momentum into China and rest of the season. Although we managed to finish the race, cooling was still an issue at Sepang and once we have it sorted out completely we’ll be able to unlock some more performance from the car. The back straight at the Shanghai circuit is of course one of the longest on the calendar and the tightening first corner is uniquely challenging since the corner entry is in top gear and by the time you exit you’re in second. Plus there are a fair amount of technical slow-speed corners as well, and the high-speed direction change of turns 7/8. Given these mixed characteristics, it is a demanding circuit for traction, aero and braking stability in equal measures.”

Pedro de la Rosa, HRT
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

"After these first two Grands Prix we arrive in China much better prepared, with more mileage and having learned a lot, especially after the Malaysian GP. All the data gathered in the last race is very important for us, as we mustn’t forget that we didn’t have a preseason. Now we have a better insight on the areas where we must improve, but the most important thing in this initial stage is to finish races. That is the prime objective in order to learn and improve race by race. The hardest part comes now but we are better prepared. China is a circuit where I have always done well and a place I know well, both in dry and wet conditions. It’s not a particularly hard track for the car or the driver, but aerodynamics are fundamental.”

Luis Perez-Sala, HRT team principal
"The start to the season was very complicated because we were behind schedule with regards to the other teams. We had to put in a colossal effort to be able to get on track in Australia and improve our performance just one week later in Malaysia. There’s still plenty to do and many areas to improve on to be where we should be but at least in these two weeks we’ve had a bit more time to analyse data, prepare and recharge batteries, therefore I’m confident that we’re arriving in China in a much better situation. We mustn’t forget that the F112 is only taking its first steps and, as of today, what we must do is progress without stopping. In Shanghai we’ll have some small updates to optimize cooling and aerodynamics, and the target for this weekend is to check that these adjustments work. To sum up, we have to get more out of the car but must als o improve on teamwork and coordination.”

Timo Glock, Marussia
2011 Qualifying - 22nd, 2011 Race - 21st

“Shanghai is a really special circuit. It has a very long straight and a very difficult turn one which is very quick on entry and tight through the whole corner. It’s very long and demanding for the front left tyre, so a real challenge for Pirelli in determining the tyre choice. It’s difficult to make predictions for this race because I’ve known it to be pretty cold and sometimes very wet, so you never quite know what is going to happen and so much depends on the weather here. It’s nice to have had a break as it gave us some time to go through the vast amount of data we got in quite a short space of time with the new car. This gives us the opportunity to try some new things for China and, hopefully, continue to take positive steps forward. I like this race so I’m looking forward to it and to seeing where we stand next weekend.”

Charles Pic, Marussia
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“I’m quite happy with the way I got up to speed with the first two circuits, despite never having raced there before. The weather makes the acclimatisation a little more difficult, but in the dry it doesn’t take very long to find a good rhythm. It has been good to look back at my data from Australia and Malaysia and see where we can continue to improve. I’ve prepared in the simulator as much as I can during the break. I’ve also spent some time in the factory working with the team and my relationship with the engineers is developing very well. The Shanghai circuit is quite challenging and I’m really looking forward to driving it properly for the first time. Everyone in the team is pushing really hard to keep moving in a positive direction, so I hope we can show more of the car’s potential next weekend.”

John Booth, Marussia team principal
“After such a busy but positive start to the season with the opening two races, it has been good to have some time to take stock and gather ourselves, ready for the challenge of the next important phase. Our objective now is to maintain the momentum, so it has been full steam ahead in terms of our development programme. The starting point for that was the significant amount of data we had been able to gather in Melbourne and Sepang and while the race team have had the chance for some rest during the break, it has been quite the opposite for the technical team back in Banbury, who have been evaluating our findings and feeding them back into the cycle, including the continuation of our wind tunnel programme. We have some aerodynamic and systems refinements for the MR01 in China, ahead of a more substantial upgrade for the start of the European season next month.”

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
2011 Qualifying - 13th, 2010 Race - 10th

“I always have a good feeling for this Grand Prix. I really like the circuit near Shanghai because I enjoy its high speed corners very much, and as well as that they should suit our car. Last year the race was great fun and I scored a point after having started 13th. The track temperatures might be lower than recently in Malaysia, as I expect them to be more like they were in Melbourne, and this also should be better for us and the tyres, but we have to see how it is once we are there. In any case I will go there with a positive approach and after the small break it will be interesting to see who brings what updates for the cars. Personally I have been using the days off for some extra training sessions with our physiotherapist, Joseph Leberer, in Japan.”

Sergio Perez, Sauber
2011 Qualifying - 12th, 2010 Race - 17th

“I am very much looking forward to the Chinese Grand Prix. I enjoyed the short break after the race in Malaysia, although, especially in the beginning, it was a busy time back in Mexico. The reception in Guadalajara was absolutely great and I really loved seeing my family and friends at home. However, I’m very much focused on thinking about further improvements and continued with my training programme. We all have to keep our heads down and work hard. Our car can be competitive and we have to make the most of it. Last year initially I had a good race in Shanghai, but then I had contact with some other cars towards the end of the Grand Prix and was penalised. The high speed corners of the track should suit our car. I especially like turn one - it is a long and pretty difficult bend. The long straight will not be the easiest part for us, but, again, we have to maximise our potential.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Sauber head of track engineering
“The Shanghai International Circuit is a very demanding track. Its peculiarities are several sections with a combination of braking and lateral forces as well as traction and lateral forces. This puts some demands on the car with regards to braking stability and overall balance. The straights are also quite relevant for lap times, especially the very long one where you need speed in qualifying as well as for overtaking in the race. We are being allocated the soft and the medium tyre compounds. Normally the durability is not an issue but, as the track is not often used, there can be graining and high wear levels at the beginning of the weekend. We had some difficulties with tyre degradation in hot conditions in Malaysia, however, this should be less of an issue in Shanghai, because the tarmac is smooth and overall there are fewer high speed corners with high lateral forces. What can be a challenge is the weather. In April there is always quite a high possibility of rain, which is not as dramatic as in Malaysia, but still is something we have to bear in mind when planning the weekend. The car will have some minor modifications compared to the one we ran in Malaysia. I’m confident we can be very competitive in the race.”

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“It’s just another race track - I don’t have particular favourites or anything like that. It’s quite similar to Albert Park and Sepang in what it requires from the car so that should be good for us. We have some new parts for the E20 so that should also be good. I’m sure all the other teams have new parts for their cars too, so we won’t know where we are until we get there. I won there in 2007 and that was a good feeling as that was the year I won the World Championship. It’s a proper race track and there are good opportunities for overtaking. Our car looks good so let’s see what happens when we get out on track.”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“The first two races were tough and we didn’t get a result. On the other hand I know that we can do some great things in the future races. My season starts properly in China. It will be my first time driving the circuit. I’ve been watching some onboard videos and it looks pretty nice. I hope it will suit the E20. We have a new package which will hopefully be beneficial. I’m looking forward to discovering another new circuit. There are plenty of good, interesting corners by the looks of it. If we get a good result I’m sure it will become a track that I love.”

Eric Boullier, Lotus team principal
"The aero package we’re bringing to China is proof that we’re leaving no stone unturned. We are focused on developing and improving the E20, while both drivers know their objectives and are working well with the team. We can put down many of the negative aspects of the first two races to bad luck, or factors which we will all learn from. We expect to be securing some more solid points in the near future, with both cars in the top eight."

James Allison, Lotus technical director
"The first two tracks we visited - Albert Park and Sepang - place an above average requirement on aerodynamic efficiency with a good number of high and medium speed corners. Shanghai and Bahrain place slightly higher emphasis on lower cornering speeds. Including winter testing, we’ve now run our car at four circuits - not all of which are super aerodynamic in their characteristics – and the E20 has been strong at every one. We therefore head to China and Bahrain expecting good performance. We’re bringing new parts which should add up to around two tenths of a second improvement in lap time. It may not sound like much, but given how close the grids have been so far this season, that is a big deal. Hopefully, it’s a bit more than other people will bring…”

Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director
“The circuit layout has two straights and a mix of corners, from tight hairpins to flowing curves and radial turns. The constant changes of direction mean correct engine mapping is extremely important to give the drive out of the corners. Turns 12 and 13, the radial corner that leads onto the longest straight on the circuit, demand particular attention.”

Jenson Button, McLaren
2011 Qualifying - 2nd, 2011 Race - 4th

“The facilities are amazing, but it’s a very good, modern circuit - the first two sectors are pretty technical, there are some interesting combinations of corners and you need a good, responsive car to go well. Then the track opens up, the straight is one of the longest in Formula One - it just keeps going - then you’re into the hairpin and the final turn, both of which offer good opportunities for overtaking. There’s no one particular corner that stands out, but that’s good, because it means they’ve done a good job with the whole track. And if it rains, then it’s going to be another extremely unpredictable race as we’re all still learning about the cars and tyres in damp conditions. Whatever happens, it should be interesting. There will be the usual set-up compromises: setting the car up to offer good downforce through some of the faster corners, but without sacrificing too much speed along the straights. We saw different teams address that balance in different ways over the first two races, so it will be interesting to see if things start to converge this weekend after a few weeks back in Europe. Tyre wear will also be very important - last year we saw a real disparity between the compounds - so getting the preparation right will be crucial.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2011 Qualifying - 3rd, 2011 Race - 1st

“I’ll be heading to China looking to win - but it’s just as important to pick up some good points if, for whatever reason, a win isn’t on the cards. I have some vivid memories of racing in China - some good, some not so good! I’ve won there twice - both were victories I’m really proud of: in 2008, it was a very important race, and I really needed a good result for the championship - we had a pretty much perfect weekend with pole position, fastest lap and the race win. Then in 2011, coming off the back of a difficult weekend in Malaysia, I had a great race, kept pushing every lap and managed to take the lead right at the end. It was a very important win because it showed that we could be a force in the championship that year. I won’t deny that I’m disappointed to have had two pole positions and not to have been able to convert either of them into victories, but I prefer to think of it that luck just hasn’t been on my side, and that it will swing my way sooner or later. I also think last year taught me the value of consistency: it’s no use chasing a great result if you can't back it up with another strong finish the following week. So maybe I’m just playing myself in gently: after all, in 2007, I didn’t win a race until the sixth round, and I was in the hunt for the title all through the year. I still don’t think the pecking order has settled down yet, so it’s important to get some good results in the bag while we can. It will be very interesting to see how the order has shaken itself out over the last three weeks - it’s going to be an interesting weekend.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“The Chinese Grand Prix is a race in which we’ve traditionally gone very well - we’ve won three of the past four races here, all of which have come through faultless performances from Jenson and Lewis - and we head to Shanghai this year keen to add to that tally. While there are mixed feelings to have only been able to convert two all-front-row starting positions into one race win, everybody here at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes feels extremely encouraged by our pace in the first two Grands Prix of the season. Make no mistake, however: we’re acutely aware that our rivals won’t have stood still during the past three weeks. We’ve certainly been extremely busy, too, and we don’t take anything for granted: if the overall competitive order was a little hard to read in the first two races, I have no doubt that it will start to become clearer next weekend, and I strongly believe that, once again, it will be closely fought at the front.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes
2011 Qualifying - 14th, 2011 Race - 8th

"When I think about the Chinese Grand Prix, the fans are the first thing that comes to mind. For many years now, I've had a big and loyal fan base there, and it's still very touching to see the lengths they go to in supporting me. A big thank you to all of them! As for the race itself, I've never had much luck in Shanghai, apart from my win in 2006; however that could change this year. In the first two races of 2012, we didn't manage to maintain our qualifying pace in race conditions. We've been working intensively on this, so that we can offer our fans a strong performance in China."

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2011 Qualifying - 4th, 2011 Race - 5th

"I have good memories of the Chinese Grand Prix as I was on the podium there in 2010 and led the race last year. I like the Shanghai International Circuit very much with its many unique, long corners. For me, China is really the start of the season as the first two races have not gone to plan. The track is quite different to the first two, as it demands more from the front tyres than the rears - in other words, what is termed a front-limited circuit. We know that we have a quick car, but we are looking to improve our long run pace in China next weekend and to have a better race performance."

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
"The Chinese Grand Prix takes place at the very impressive Shanghai International Circuit and has really established itself on the Formula One calendar in recent years. China is an important and growing market for our sport, and indeed for Mercedes-Benz, and we look forward to our annual visit next week. On track, we hope that the weekend will prove more successful than the first two races of the season where our race results did not match expectations after a positive start to both weekends. A lot of hard work and analysis has taken place back at the factory since our return, and I hope to see these efforts pay dividends next Sunday in Shanghai with a performance which reflects the capabilities of the F1 W03."

Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"The first two races of the 2012 Formula One season have been ones of unfulfilled promise for our team. Michael's second row qualifying positions were less than half a second from pole in Australia and Malaysia, however at both events we did not convert our qualifying speed into a consistent race performance on Sunday when it counts. Since the last race in Malaysia, the team has conducted analysis of our tyre usage during the first two rounds, and how we can improve. The Chinese Grand Prix will provide an answer on our progress, although weather conditions and circuit characteristics will be different to either Melbourne or Malaysia. The 1170 metre back straight accounts for over 20 percent of the lap distance, the cars exceed 285 km/h on four different occasions, and nine of the circuit's corners are considered to be low or medium speed, with five taken at less than 100 km/h. Our team has been hard at work since Malaysia, and we hope to be able to translate our learning process into consistent and competitive lap times on race day in China."

Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham
2011 Qualifying - 19th, 2011 Race - 16th

“Next up it's another couple of back to back races, this time China and Bahrain. We'll look at Bahrain next week so for now the focus is on China. I've been in Abu Dhabi since leaving Malaysia, staying with my girlfriend Catherine's parents so I can keep up the training regime and avoid the full jetlag that can kick in when you return to Europe. I'm feeling really good, back to 100 percent after the bug I had in Malaysia and I just want to get back out on track. When we do get back out it will be in Shanghai at one of the pretty standard modern tracks. It's a mix of low and medium speed corners, a very long straight with a tight corner at the end that provides a natural point to overtake, and a couple of tight fiddly bits you never quite feel like you get completely right. It's not too hard on the brakes but you need to get the car stable under braking so you can really attack into each braking zone, and you need good traction out of the slower corners to be able to pressure the cars ahead around the whole lap. The key bit is probably into Turns 11, 12 and 13 - making sure you get the braking into Turn 11 right so you can carry as much speed as possible through 12 and 13 and out onto the straight. Get that right and you give yourself a chance to fight at the end of the straight.”

Vitaly Petrov, Caterham
2011 Qualifying - 10th, 2011 Race - 9th

“As soon as the Malaysian race was over I headed back to Russia for a few days at home before we get going again in China. I've been doing a bit of training, catching up with friends and family and I hooked up with Andrei Arshavin to help launch the new Nike Mercurial Vapour VIII football boots. I'm a big football fan and it's always good seeing Andrei. He's obviously having a pretty interesting season with Arsenal and I know he and the whole Russian team are looking forward to Euro 2012 in June. I'll have to make sure I can fit in watching a few games while we're at races - I'm in Canada for Russia's opening game so I'll have a word with the IT guys to see if they can help me watch it! Next up though it's China. I've been in the points for the last two years in Shanghai and while it would obviously be great to repeat that in 2012 with Caterham I suspect it might be a bit too early in the season for us to get a point in China. It's not a particularly hard circuit to drive, it's not too technical but you have to make sure you get it right through the tight section from Turns One to Four, and the same from 11 to 13 as you head onto the straight. You can make up or lose quite a bit of time in both those sequences and that means setting up the cars to have the right balance between the high speed run down to Turn 14, meaning less drag, and the slower turns in sectors one and three, both of which need much more downforce.”

Mark Smith, Caterham technical director
“As we head to Shanghai for the third race of 2012 we know that we still have some margin to work on to extract the best from the car and the tyres in both qualifying and the race itself. We have been looking at this in detail since returning from Malaysia and have a number of plans in place to help us move forwards as soon as we get on track in Shanghai. The ambient temperatures in China are always much lower than the last race in Malaysia, although it would not be a surprise to see rain at some stage over the course of the weekend. The layout of the circuit itself makes overtaking quite tricky so it will be interesting to see how much KERS helps us, now we have it here for the frist time, along with DRS this year. The track surface is relatively smooth and the kerbs are generally not an issue in China, so we will take these factors into account when we plan the optimum setups for the weekend. We still have yet to run a dry race in 2012 on a full grand prix circuit which means that we have a limited amount of tyre information for the Chinese GP weekend. That puts a premium on the importance of running tyre programmes in FP1 and FP2 and gives the engineers a lot of work to do on Friday night. Externally, we will be running the cars in high downforce configurations and we have bodywork updates targeted at increased load and more efficient cooling, given the lower ambient temperatures we will to see in Shanghai. China is not especially tough on brakes but we also have a couple of updates in this area."

Tony Fernandes, Caterham team principal
"While the race team has had a very well deserved couple of weeks off since the end of the Malaysian race, the work rate in the factory has intensified as we keep up the development fight off track. This time last year we wanted to bring updates to each race, but we were not in a financial or logistical position to do so. This year we can do just that, and that is another sign that we are going in the right direction. Before the Australian and Malaysian races we had a pretty clear idea of where we would be relative to the other teams around us, and the performances we saw confirmed what we need to do to keep bridging the gap to the cars ahead. Over the race weekends we need to look at improving our qualifying pace, and it looks like we can work more efficiently on maximising tyre performance levels over the whole weekend. Back at the factory the main focus for us is on improving the aero performance of the cars. This is what will give us the chance to fight for the point we want to win, and the fact we can now head into the next two flyaway races with the sort of upgrades we could only dream of last year is a very encouraging sign, and one that shows how hard the whole team is working to help us achieve our goals."

Pirelli
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“China proved to be one of the most fascinating races in our first year, with tyre strategy at the heart of it, so we have a tough act to follow. However, the philosophy we have adopted this year actually extends the window of peak performance on the slick tyres, which means that the drivers should be able to race harder and closer. Although ambient temperatures can be quite low in China, tyre degradation is traditionally high due to the unique track layout. So although we have the same nomination as we saw in Australia - medium and soft - our P Zeros will face a quite different challenge next week in Shanghai.”

More to follow.

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