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Race information - China 2017 // F1 rocks up in Shanghai for round two

Published by Christine

With one race of the 2017 season complete, we are perhaps a little further forward in figuring out what the rest of the year is going to offer up. Ferrari put on a decent challenge in Australia, taking the first victory of the year, so the season may not be about to go all Mercedes' way. Of course, one race doesn't tell us all we need to know, so it's about time we had another one - this time in China - to let us know whether our assumptions are correct.

Event schedule

Sebastian Vettel claimed the first race win of 2017, with Ferrari and Mercedes doing battle in Melbourne. Red Bull didn't seem to be quite as on the pace as they'd hoped, but there's still plenty of time for them to join the fun. Meanwhile, Pascal Wehrlein missed out on the opening round, replaced by Antonio Giovinazzi at Sauber. That is going to happen again in China, with Pascal not even confident he will be back for Bahrain.

Frustrated drivers hoping for better this weekend include Daniel Ricciardo (who retired from his home race in Melbourne), both the Haas drivers (the team qualified well but suffered a double DNF on Sunday), and Valtteri Bottas (who didn't do too badly but has a long way to go to trouble Hamilton within the Mercedes team).

We'll also be keeping an eye out for how the racing unfolds, as there's plenty of consternation about the faster cars making it harder for drivers, but equally harder on overtaking.

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
07 AprFridayFree Practice 103:00
GMT +01:00
10:00
GMT +08:00
Free Practice 207:00
GMT +01:00
14:00
GMT +08:00
08 AprSaturdayFree Practice 305:00
GMT +01:00
12:00
GMT +08:00
Qualifying08:00
GMT +01:00
15:00
GMT +08:00
09 AprSundayGrand Prix07:00
GMT +01:00
14:00
GMT +08:00

Support racing for this event includes Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.

Expected conditions

The weather forecast for the coming weekend suggests there's going to be a real challenge coming for the teams in terms of strategy. Friday is set to be wet, giving the drivers time to adapt to a wet setup and decide the balance of the car. However, Saturday is set to be dry with the rain returning on Sunday.

Light rain

Shanghai, Friday

17℃

  • Low 12℃
  • Humidity 72%

Light rain

Mainly sunny

Shanghai, Saturday

23℃

  • Low 13℃
  • Humidity 66%

Mainly sunny

Rain at times heavy

Shanghai, Sunday

14℃

  • Low 11℃
  • Humidity 73%

Rain at times heavy

Track information

The vast expanse of the Shanghai International Circuit is crumbling around the edges after almost fifteen years in the sport, and dwindling visitor numbers mean there is a disappointing lack of atmosphere. The track itself, however, makes up for that with some unique challenges, long straights and opportunities for chaos.

Shanghai International Circuit circuit map
DRS zones
DRS detection 1At turn 12
DRS activation 1752m before turn 14
DRS detection 235m before turn 16
DRS activation 298m after turn 16

A lap at Shanghai begins with the unforgiving first corner complex that leads drivers round to the right in an ever-tightening turn that then whips them back 180 degrees to the left. A couple of straights follow to complete the first sector, and then the winding middle section begins.

After battling through some high speed corners, the speed drops to navigate turn twelve that leads drivers round and on to the hugely long back straight. Reaching 319km/h, drivers then have to hit the brakes hard to reduce for a second gear corner that leads to a short straight, a ninety degree left hander, and then back on the accelerator for the home straight.

Circuit history

Circuit information
CircuitShanghai International Circuit
LocationShanghai
CountryChina
TimezoneGMT +08:00
Race debut2004
Laps56
Length5.451 km
Distance305.066 km
Line offset0.190 km

For the 2017 season, the track has had a spot of resurfacing across the start line to dampen bumps, and some extra padding has been added to the tyre barriers at turns one and eight. There are also new and higher kerbing areas around the track, so watch out for drivers struggling to miss those.

Pole position is normally a key part of the race weekend, with eight of the 13 races run so far being won by the polesitter. However with the rain predicted sporadically through the weekend, pole may not be all its cracked up to be. Hamilton has enjoyed good qualifying results in China with five pole positions, followed by Vettel who has three.

Meanwhile, starting lower down the grid is usually quite a hindrance, with Mark Webber's podium finish in 2011 from 18th the only occasion a driver has picked up a trophy from outside the top ten on the grid.

Results for the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix
SessionDriverTeamTime
Free Practice 1Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:38.037
Free Practice 2Kimi RäikkönenScuderia Ferrari1:36.896
Free Practice 3Sebastian VettelScuderia Ferrari1:57.351
QualifyingNico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:35.402
Grand PrixNico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:38:53.891
Fastest lapNico HülkenbergSahara Force India F1 Team1:39.824

Tyre compounds

The changeable conditions will affect the tyres hugely - we may even see an early appearance from the green or blue wet tyres during the weekend. Otherwise, it is the medium, soft and supersoft compounds available for drivers this weekend.

New Pirelli boss Mario Isola says: "We expect teams to use mainly soft and supersoft, depending of course on the unpredictable weather: especially as the allocation is just two sets of medium. In the past, there has been some graining in China due to the long straights followed by tight corners, but we've seen in Barcelona testing that graining is generally reduced this year, so it will be good to have that confirmed."

Selected tyre sets per driver
Medium tyreSoft tyreSupersoft tyre
All drivers247

Note: From Australia to Spain, teams will have identical tyre allocations: seven sets of the softest compound available, four sets of the middle compound, and two of the hardest compound. In Australia, these are ultrasoft, supersoft and soft (in order). From Monaco, normal rules apply: teams will select 10 sets of the 13 available. Pirelli will communicate the selections on the Tuesday, 10 days before the race.

Press conference schedule

Official press conferences are organised by the FIA and happen four times during the weekend. The qualifying and post race press conferences will take place after the television unilateral interviews.

Press Conference Schedule
DayAttendeeRepresenting
ThursdayAntonio GiovinazziSauber F1 Team
Nico HülkenbergRenault Sport F1 Team
Kimi RäikkönenScuderia Ferrari
Carlos Sainz JrScuderia Toro Rosso
Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing
Sebastian VettelScuderia Ferrari
FridayCyril AbiteboulRenault Sport F1 Team
Robert FernleySahara Force India F1 Team
Monisha KaltenbornSauber F1 Team
Guenther SteinerHaas F1 Team
Franz TostScuderia Toro Rosso
SaturdayThree fastest drivers
SundayFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

The FIA stewarding process includes a former F1 driver to offer added insight. These stewards are overseeing the weekend's action.

FIA stewards
NamePosition
Paul GutjahrPresident of the FIA Hill Climb Commission, board member and President of Auto Sport Suisse SARL
Mika SaloFormer Formula One driver, ALMS GT Champion and double Le Mans GT2 class winner.
Vincenzo SpanoPresident of the Sporting Commission of the Automobile and Touring Club of Venezuela.

All content in the series China 2017