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China preview quotes - Williams, Lotus & more on Shanghai 08 Apr 2013

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams.
Formula One Testing, Day 1, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday, 5 February 2013 Mike Coughlan (GBR) Williams Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 5 October 2012 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 16 March 2013 Eric Boullier (FRA) Lotus F1 Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 James Allison (GBR) Lotus F1 Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Remi Taffin (FRA), head of Renault Sport F1 track operations in the Press Conference
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 2 November 2012 Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 2 March 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 John Booth (GBR) Marussia Racing Team Principal in the Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Force India Formula One Team Owner.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Ross Brawn (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Toto Wolff (AUT) Merceds AMG F1 Executive Director.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 2 March 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 22 March 2013 Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Tom McCullough (GBR) Sauber Head of Track Engineering.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 1 March 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Paul Hembery (GBR) Pirelli Motorsport Director in the Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 31 August 2012

After an action-packed start to the season - and a subsequent three-week break - the 22 drivers and 11 teams will reconvene in Shanghai this week for the third race of the year: the 2013 Formula 1 UBS Chinese Grand Prix on April 12-14. Those involved discuss their prospects for the race…

Pastor Maldonado, Williams
2012 Qualifying - 13th, 2012 Race - 8th

“This can be quite an unpredictable race and the weather conditions are a particular challenge. There is also a mix of different corners so you need to get the right balance between good straightline speed for the very long straight, whilst still having good grip in the lower speed corners. Another challenge is the strategy as there are a few difficult decisions the engineers face when deciding what type of race to run here. We haven’t had the best start to the season and we need some time to improve our car to be solid in the points, but the whole team is working very hard so let’s wait and see how we can adapt the car for this race.”

Valtteri Bottas, Williams
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“I have experience driving the Shanghai International Circuit as I drove in FP1 last year and it’s a track that shares similar characteristics to the last Grand Prix in Malaysia. Whilst not as hot and humid, the weather can be variable so you need a car that works well in different conditions. Getting the tyres to work will be the biggest challenge facing all of the teams, as the temperatures are often low and the smooth track surface is quite different to what we saw in the first two races. I was unlucky not to score my first points in the last race and whilst we aren’t quite where we feel we should be, the team has been working hard to understand the car and bring a package to this race that’s a step forward in performance.”

Mike Coughlan, Williams technical director
“After a difficult two races we’ve been back at the factory going through the data to try to understand where we need to improve. We feel we have a better understanding of where we are and the whole team has been working hard to improve our competitiveness going into the next few races. Ultimately we are looking at a significant upgrade for the Spanish Grand Prix. The ambient conditions in China will be kinder although the weather can be quite changeable. The cooler temperatures we expect are not only more favourable for the car but also for both the team and driver. The circuit is also usually quite hard on tyres, so that could prove another challenge.”

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus
2012 Qualifying - 5th, 2012 Race - 14th

“It’s always difficult to predict what will happen in the next race as we haven’t been there yet with this car, and every car reacts differently to each circuit. Unfortunately we didn’t achieve any points there last year so we can only improve from that. I have been first, second and third in Shanghai in previous years so it would be nice to add to that list. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t go well there; we have some new parts for the E21 and the last upgrades we had seemed to help so it will be interesting to see what will happen if it doesn’t rain. (Last year) there was some good racing and it looked like a strong result could have been possible, but we ran out of rubber during the final stint and didn’t score any points. Hopefully we’ll be a little bit more lucky with the tyre performance this time and well prepared from a strategy point of view. We had the race pace in 2012, that’s true, but we tried to carry on with our tyres for too long. They dropped off, and that was it. On the other hand without trying to push with those tactics, we would never have been fighting for top positions. If you look at last year we didn’t have a bad car for China, and if we get the car working as well as we did on Friday at Sepang, we should do well in Shanghai too.”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2012 Qualifying - 10th, 2012 Race - 6th

“We have definitely made progress (with the E21). It’s been frustrating for me as sometimes the car gives me what I want and sometimes it doesn’t, even if the conditions and setup are very similar. I’ve been working closely with my engineers and we made good progress over the last race weekend. The car and the latest tyres seem to be very sensitive to having the balance exactly right so that’s what we’re focusing on. We’ve been making steps forward with performance and that’s always what you want. The new front wing was beneficial and I’m looking forward to getting the latest exhaust configuration in China. Kimi used it in Sepang and it was definitely of benefit to the car. (Shanghai) is an impressive facility; the first time you see it you realise how big it is. The circuit layout is pretty good and there are some nice challenges like increasing radius corners and turns with a bit of banking. There are more slower speed corners than we’ve had at the last couple of races and there’s a big straight too, so there’s plenty to keep you occupied. I would like to score strong points. I finished in tenth in Australia, then sixth in Malaysia so I’d be quite happy if I finish in second place in Shanghai. That or a win would make me very happy! Let’s see how the car is once we arrive on track and hope there won’t be rain again as we know our car does struggle a little in wet conditions.”

Eric Boullier, Lotus team principal
“First of all, I think we can take some positives from Malaysia. We’ve made a step forward with the car in terms of single lap pace, but still the race pace looks strong as well. For China, Romain will have the upgraded exhaust and bodywork package which Kimi ran in Malaysia, plus there will be a few additional parts arriving so it’s going to be quite interesting. Coming away from a race feeling like sixth and seventh is a bad result for the team shows how far we’ve come, so we’ll keep pushing and with a normal weekend I’m sure we can expect some stronger results.”

James Allison, Lotus technical director
“China presents quite a different challenge to the last two circuits. Melbourne has a lot of medium speed corners with relatively few at either end of the scale, while Sepang has a reasonable spread; perhaps slightly biased towards the more high speed corners than average. Shanghai by contrast has almost no high speed corners, featuring predominantly low speed ones with a smattering of medium. Some of the lower speed corners are also extended in their radius, even with tightening arcs. This provides quite a stern test for the tyres, as you have a significant excess of torque over grip making it very easy to wreck a set of rear tyres rather quickly. It’s generally quite cool in Shanghai as well - unseasonably so last year - meaning that graining will be an issue once again; particularly given the smoothness of the asphalt which is comparable to that of Melbourne. From what we’ve learned so far the E21 is reasonable in conditions where graining is rife, so we’re hoping for more of the same in China. Last year we ran a strategy which saw our drivers make one stop fewer than the rest of the field. In the end this proved a bridge too far for Kimi, largely down to the fact that he tends to be fractionally harder on his front tyres than Romain. As it turned out this race was a bit of a graining fest for the fronts, which was unfortunate as prior to that point he was sitting quite pretty in that race. In China we’ll be upgrading Romain to the latest spec exhaust and related bodywork as run by Kimi in Malaysia. We also have a few small tweaks to the front wing, rear wind endplates and sidepod vanes. One of the benefits gained from the new exhaust package is an increase in rear downforce through corners where the ratio of exhaust speed to car speed is high, which tend to be the lower speed corners. This is a good step forward which we hope will aid us in protecting the tyres at this kind of circuit.”

Remi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations
“Shanghai is unique on the calendar as there is a 1.3km straight where the engine is at full revs and top speed for nearly 18secs, but a relatively low percentage of the lap is spent at full throttle. The engine therefore needs to deliver throughout the entire range. Under these circumstances engine braking support needs to be consistent to assist with a stable rear end, but the top speed must not suffer on the long straight. The high amount of dust from the factories around the circuit means grip is low, but can also be ingested into the engine, putting it at risk from internal damage.”

Jules Bianchi, Marussia
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“I’m really looking forward to heading to China and getting back to the racing. Things had started out so well that it was almost a shame to have to stop for a few weeks, but for the team it is very important to have the time to look at what we have achieved and how to continue moving forward. For me also, I was able to reflect on what has been a bit of a whirlwind, but a very positive start to my first season of Formula One nonetheless. I am quite happy with the progress so far. It’s all about maintaining the momentum now, so it is good to know that we head into the next race with some new developments which should carry us forward again. I have a little experience of the Shanghai International Circuit having completed eight laps there in Free Practice last year, plus I spent some time on the simulator in the break. I haven’t seen Shanghai yet though, so maybe this will be a first! The target for this race is to keep closing on the guys ahead and be challenging them consistently, lap for lap.”

Max Chilton, Marussia
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“The break since Malaysia has been really beneficial on the one hand because it has given us the chance to reflect on the first two races and what we need to do to keep on making progress. On the other hand, off the back of the first two races of my Formula One career, it has also felt a bit like an eternity and I can’t wait to head to China now and get back to racing. I’ve never raced at the Shanghai International Circuit before so I only have my experience of watching the races there in the past and my recent simulator work to go by, but it looks like a nice challenge with some interesting features. Shanghai itself will also be a new experience. We have a few updates to the car; so far the developments we have brought have worked well and I’m sure we can keep moving in a positive direction.”

John Booth, Marussia team principal
“The past couple of weeks have provided a good break for the race team after a fairly intensive period through pre-season testing and the opening two long-haul races. After such a positive start to the season though, I think we are all keen to get back to the racing. The cars were freighted directly to China, so while we would not call the upgrades we have for this race comprehensive, they are still significant. We will be running some new suspension parts that we proved out in testing but delayed until we had some further race distance experience with the MR02. We also have some new front and rear brake ducts. The bigger push will come for Europe, but for now it’s good to be bringing new incremental updates to the car to maintain our positive trajectory. The drivers have spent some time in the simulator during the break and generally they are feeling much better prepared for the next phase of the season.”

Paul di Resta, Force India
2012 Qualifying - 15th, 2012 Race - 12th

“I am really looking forward to the next two races in China and Bahrain. We were unlucky not to get any points in Malaysia, but we can take some positives from the performance we showed on the track. We looked to be one of the fastest cars during the early part of the race. It’s a good sign for the rest of the season. The climate in China is very different compared to the first two races, but we’ve performed well in the cool conditions of Melbourne and in the heat of Malaysia. The team has had a sensible approach to the start of the season; we worked hard to get a good understanding of our package and we’re already reaping the rewards. The objective for China is to make up for the missed opportunity of Malaysia and be firmly back in the points. It is important not to get carried away and to keep doing our job at each race. We appear to be in a good position at the moment, but no one can say where we will be compared to our rivals after the next two races. We know McLaren are a very strong team and they will develop well, so all we can do is continue pushing hard to try and stay ahead of them. We have been doing a good job so far - better than many people expected - but there’s a long way to go.”

Adrian Sutil, Force India
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“The car was definitely quick in Malaysia, but I felt more comfortable in the dry and I struggled more during the wet part of qualifying. The start of the race was good: I was running in eighth position before my first stop, but that’s when things started to go wrong in the pits. It’s a shame we had the problem because the car felt very strong, but sometimes these things happen. Now we need to focus on the performance to try and repeat it in China. The layout is not too different to Sepang, so it should suit us again and I hope we can be strong there. Also, we know there are lots of areas where we can improve because we have learned a lot from the first couple of races. The other teams will not stand still so we need to keep pushing hard and keep up this momentum. We will have a new tyre combination in China - the soft and the medium - and we appear to be quite good at managing our tyres so we need to use that to our advantage. It’s an interesting circuit, although it’s not one of my favourites. It’s modern, of course, and there are some unusual corners, such as turn one - the long right hander. You need to be perfect through these slow speed corners or you lose too much time. It’s wide and you can run some different lines through a lot of the corners, which is probably why it’s a track where you can overtake quite easily.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
“The first two races of 2013 have been an encouraging start to the season. The VJM06 is a solid contender with competitive race pace; we have an excellent pair of drivers and the right technical package in place. Most importantly, the whole team is working together well. Even though the last race in Malaysia was very disappointing, I know we have the potential to bounce back quickly and get a good result in Shanghai. Throughout the Sepang weekend, we had a quick car and the drivers felt good about their chances. We were confident of bringing both cars home in the points until the wheel nut issue let us down. We’ve had three weeks to understand what went wrong and have worked hard fix the root cause of the problem. China has always produced spectacular races and it’s not uncommon to experience some wet weather, but we know that both our drivers and the VJM06 are comfortable in all conditions. It shows how far we have come as a team. In the past we used to hope for rain as our only chance to upset the front-runners, but now we are more competitive in all conditions. The next two weekends, with races in China and Bahrain, will put us in a position to see where we really stand in comparison with our rivals. Everyone in the team is looking forward to this challenge and I am confident we will put the disappointment of Malaysia behind us and bring home some big points.”

Charles Pic, Caterham
2012 Qualifying - 22nd, 2012 Race - 20th

“Next we have two more back to back races, in Shanghai, China, and then straight to Bahrain. They’re both modern circuits but they put different demands on the cars, especially under braking as China’s pretty easy on brakes but Bahrain is very tough. Last year was my first race in China and I thought the track was pretty good. The lap starts with a very long straight with a tight right hander at the end which is a natural place to overtake right at the start of the lap. One area we will focus on in the practice sessions is making sure the car’s very stable under braking so I can attack into each braking zone - you need that and very good traction out of the slower corners to push the cars ahead around the whole lap. On Friday and Saturday morning we’ll also be working on several performance areas that the team has been looking at since Malaysia, particularly around dialling out the understeer issues I had in Australia and Malaysia. We have a few setup options to try to help with that, and some ideas we’re going to look at with Pirelli so I’m sure we can make good progress on that.”

Giedo van der Garde, Caterham
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“China’s the next race and we’re going back to where I did my first FP1 with Caterham last year, so it’s the first track this season I’ve already driven on in a Formula One car. Hopefully it’ll be better weather this year as FP1 last year started out wet and was a bit damp for the whole session so I wasn’t really able to push. It would be good if it was sunny as that would mean we can get the most number of laps done and one thing we are going to be focusing on in China is work on improving our setup options for qualifying, using the practice sessions to give us as many options as possible for the race but also for quali. I didn’t have the car behaving exactly as I’d like in either Australia or Malaysia so I want to get that right in China.The Shanghai track itself is a very technical circuit. It’s a mix of slow, medium and high speed corners so finding the right balance to deal with the whole lap is going to be key to performance in both quali and in the race. We had oversteer issues on entry into the corners in Malaysia and Australia and that definitely hit my race pace, particularly as it was impacting on tyre degradation levels, so we’ve done a bit of work on that with Pirelli in Milan and back at Leafield since Malaysia so we’ll see what we’ve achieved when we get to Shanghai.”

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2012 Qualifying - 1st, 2012 Race - 1st

“I travel to China next week with very good memories from winning my first Formula One race in Shanghai last year, and having led the race there for the past three years. I enjoy the Shanghai track a great deal and I have a positive feeling going there with the car that we have at the moment. The team have been working very hard to develop our car since returning from Malaysia and I will be at the factory on Monday to complete my preparations in the simulator for the next two races. We've had a strong start to the season and I'm confident that we can keep pushing and hopefully score some good results in China and Bahrain.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2012 Qualifying - 2nd, 2012 Race - 3rd

“I'm looking forward to getting to China next week and going racing again; it feels like a long time since Malaysia! My first two races with my new team have been a great experience and everyone has made me feel so welcome. We've had a better start than we expected and to have finished in fifth and third places so far is really positive. I know there is much more to come so we will keep working hard and pushing the development of the car. I'll be at the factory this weekend and look forward to hearing about the work that's gone on in the last couple of weeks and the upgrades that we will take to China.”

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
“The Chinese Grand Prix of course holds great memories following the first win for Nico and our Silver Arrows team in Shanghai last year. That win was an extremely proud occasion for us all and certainly one that we hope to emulate in the future. Our season has started well, perhaps better than we expected, however we're fully aware that there is still a gap to close and that we must keep up the pace of development. A lot of hard work has taken place at our factories over the last two weeks to do just that and I look forward to seeing how that translates to track performance. The Chinese Grand Prix race is well established now in its tenth year and it's an important market for both Formula One and Mercedes-Benz. The circuit itself is challenging with fast curves, tight corners and two hairpins. The layout requires good straightline speed, braking stability and traction, and the temperatures are likely to be cooler than we have experienced in the first two race weekends.”

Toto Wolff, Mercedes team executive director
“One year on from Nico's win, a lot of people will be asking whether this is something our team can repeat in 2013. But like they say, yesterday's home runs don't win today's games, and that's definitely true for us. We start again from zero this year and need to work hard to adapt the car to suit the circuit and the tyre compounds we have available, in the conditions that we find on track next weekend. Then we will see where we stand relative to the competition. We have made a solid start to the season in the first two races with Nico and Lewis both performing at a very high and equal level. The development race will be critical this season so we have more new parts planned for China. Our aim has to be to improve on our good start to the season and continue scoring good points in both championships.”

Jenson Button, McLaren
2012 Qualifying - 6th, 2012 Race - 2nd

“In a funny way, the Chinese Grand Prix almost feels like something of a reboot of the start of my season. Taking home two points from the first two races obviously wasn’t what we had in mind at the beginning of the year, but I think everybody in the team has picked themselves up and really attacked the task of addressing our car’s issues. We know where we’re losing performance, so I think we’re actually all looking forward to seeing just what we can achieve in Shanghai. As far as the circuit goes, I’ve always enjoyed racing here: our car has always performed well around this circuit and we’ve always seemed to be able to find a good balance between the slow stuff, the high-speed changes of direction and the drag-loss needed for the long straight. It’s a pretty good place for racing, too, because that straight offers such a good opportunity for slipstreaming and overtaking. I think we can have a pretty good race next weekend, too. The important thing for us as a team is to go into the weekend with clear focus, hone our strengths across the sessions and increase our understanding of the car. I definitely think there’s everything to play for with this championship, and I can’t wait to get back into the cockpit to start the fight again.”

Sergio Perez, McLaren
2012 Qualifying - 8th, 2012 Race - 11th

“I think there’s been a little time to breathe after the first two races of the season. That’s been important for us, as we’ve been able to get back to MTC and really throw all our efforts behind the modifications we need to make the car perform more consistently. For me, it’s been incredible to not only see the speed of the team’s reaction, but also the positive way that everyone has pulled together to make those changes. It’s been an incredible team effort. So, we go into round three, and I feel there’s a lot of positivity within the team. We know that we somewhat under-performed in Australia and Malaysia, but, Jenson and I nonetheless managed to score some points. We may not have been as far up the order as we’d have liked, but those points-finishes mean the team has now extended its unbroken scoring run to 60 races - that’s pretty incredible, and a nice record to be able to maintain. Like everyone within the team, I’m really looking forward to China - it’s a great track with a little bit of everything - and I think it’ll be a good test of the car.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“Clearly, our performance in Australia and Malaysia fell below the high standards we’ve come to expect at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. However, the three-week break between rounds two and three has been a useful one; we have been fully engaged in further developing our understanding of the MP4-28 and are confident of being able to implement a number of changes this weekend that will widen its operating window and, potentially, improve its performance. The team’s ability to respond has been exemplary; as I’ve already said, the behaviour of both Jenson and Checo has been superb. They have shown themselves to be true, inspirational leaders, and they have held themselves high, as real ambassadors for our team. The engineers, designers and mechanics, too, have worked tirelessly and painstakingly to unlock the car’s potential, and we feel confident that we are starting to turn the page. Formula One is an unpredictable beast. We’ve enjoyed some very competitive weekends in Shanghai in the past - with some equally unexpected results - and I feel confident and excited that we head to China next week with the hope of making further progress and eating into the advantage currently held by the leading pack.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber
2012 Qualifying - 16th, 2012 Race - 15th

“The circuit in Shanghai is not particularly one of my favourite tracks, nevertheless it’s a demanding one, especially the first few corners and the corners before the back straight. Tyres and strategy will be very important during the weekend. At the beginning of the race in Malaysia my rear wing endplate was damaged, which caused a loss of downforce. I have a better feeling now I have driven my first race in the C32, especially because we were able to collect a lot of information. In Malaysia we scored points and that is also my goal for China.”

Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“I don’t actually know the track yet, so it will be an interesting challenge again to learn the circuit and then to develop confidence throughout the practice sessions. I have heard it is a very complex track with some fast corners and, at the same time, is very technical. Learning a new track all depends on the approach you take. You can learn a lot through video footage, your engineer’s advice on the right gears in different parts of the track and, most important of all, the more confidence you have in your car the easier it is to learn a new one. Compared to the first race in Melbourne, I now know the car so I can focus on learning the track. My goal is to improve and I’m looking forward to that.”

Tom McCullough, Sauber head of track engineering
“The Shanghai circuit has a good mix of low, medium and high speed corners. The track has several technical sections where corners lead straight into further corners requiring a good car balance and precise driving. The smooth track surface and typically low track temperatures have a significant impact on how the tyres perform - especially at the start of the race weekend whilst the track is cleaning up. Pirelli have allocated the Soft and Medium compounds which is the first time we have this pairing this season. We analysed the data that we collected in Malaysia and found interesting directions for the development of the car, therefore we will bring several test parts to Shanghai. Having secured our first points of the season in Malaysia, we are eager to add to them as soon as possible.”

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2012 Qualifying - 11th, 2012 Race - 5th

“My favourite memory of the Chinese Grand Prix is my first win with Red Bull Racing in 2009. We had a good qualifying, followed by an amazing race. There was a lot of rain, but we held it together and got our first team win and one-two. The circuit has lots of corners, making it hard for the tyres and tricky for the drivers. I really like the middle sector. Turns 12 and 13 are difficult to get right, as they demand a lot of technique, especially Turn 13 which leads into a really long straight. Every time I go to Shanghai I like to explore a bit more, but I really like Pudong, near the river.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull
2012 Qualifying - 7th, 2012 Race - 4th

“My best memory of the Chinese Grand Prix is coming from the back of the grid to finish on the podium in third place in 2011. The middle sector of the circuit is my favourite - Turns 5 and 6, it’s a nice and flowing section and it’s very important to get the technique right there. My favourite place to go in Shanghai? I went to a really nice restaurant with some of the boys from the team, Din Tai Fung Shanghai. They do great soup dumplings, a Shanghai specialty!”

Pirelli
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“China has often produced some of the best races of the year, where strategy has been at the forefront of the action. With all our compounds having got softer this year the degradation is deliberately more extreme leading to increased performance, but history has shown that it never takes too long for the teams and drivers to get on top of the tyres. Shanghai is less aggressive on the tyres than the last round in Malaysia but we would expect to see the majority of competitors go for three stops although some may try two. Last year we had a new winner with Mercedes and Nico Rosberg, who were able to get the most out of their tyres from the very beginning of the weekend in order to spring a surprise. That goes to show exactly what is possible with the correct tyre management at this point in the season.”

More to follow.

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