Chinese GP - BMW Sauber - Preview
Only a few days and a good three hours' flight separate the Japanese Grand Prix, that has just ended, and the penultimate World Championship race of the season in Shanghai this Sunday. From the picturesque setting at the foot of Mount Fuji,
Formula One now heads for a booming metropolis.Nick Heidfeld
"Turns one, two and three are among my favourite sections in the race calendar. You approach the first turn at high speed, go into it flat out, but then the corner increasingly tightens up and you have to shift right down to second. Making a clean exit will be even more interesting next year when we'll be driving without traction control again. Overall I'm rather fond of this circuit. Although it's so new, the track layout has a natural feel and a character about it. The paddock and the grandstands are also very distinctive and absolutely huge in size. The same goes for a number of buildings in downtown Shanghai, but the ultramodern skyscrapers, hotels and restaurants along the Bund are just part of the picture. In a lot of districts and in the surrounding areas you'll come across grinding poverty. This year my family will be joining me for the Asian tour and I hope we'll find a little time to visit the nicer sides of the city together."
"After Fuji we go straight to China. Last year's Grand Prix was pretty interesting for me with qualifying wet and then touching with Robert Doornbos at the start of the race. I gained a lot of positions but then when the track was drying we put the grooved tyres on too early.
Quite a nice track with, again, a very long straight. Maybe there is an overtaking possibility at the end of the long back straight. This is very long, but it is not easy because before the straight there is a really quick right hand corner and it is always difficult to follow the cars very closely there."
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:
"After the race in Fuji, it's straight on to the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. Back-to-back events like this put quite a strain on the whole team – all the more so when the two consecutive races take place in Asia. It's the logistics personnel above all who feel the pressure. We are looking forward to the penultimate race of the season. The sheer size of the Shanghai complex is unmatched and the track layout is challenging. From the point of view of BMW as a car producer, as well as all our partners, the Chinese Grand Prix holds tremendous commercial interest. It's a market with massive growth potential. In 2006 BMW recorded over 40 percent growth compared with the previous year. BMW also has its own production plant in China where BMW 3 Series and 5 Series models are built."