Shanghai, in the People's Republic of China, is the next stop on F1's 2010 tour for Round 4 of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the Chinese Grand Prix.
The race is the last of the opening long-haul rounds, after which the teams will return to Europe for
a five-month spell on relative home asphalt for the European leg, which is broken only by a brief trip across the Pond to Canada mid-June. By the time Virgin Racing returns from China next week, the team will already have clocked up around 45,000 miles of air travel.
After a more positive showing in Malaysia two weeks ago, the team's objective is to end the long-haul rounds on another positive note, this time with both cars seeing the chequered flag. The 56-lap Chinese Grand Prix takes place at the 5.451km Shanghai International Circuit (SIC), which is situated around 40kms from the city. Much has been said and written about the feat of engineering that is the SIC, but, basically, it's pretty impressive. The drivers consider it a real technical challenge and from a sheer test of racing skill it often ranks amongst their favourites.
Timo Glock, Race Driver #24
"It goes without saying that the last race in Sepang was disappointing for me, ending almost before it began. Until that point, things were looking very good and we seemed to get most things right during the Free Practice and Qualifying days. I hope this weekend in China follows a similar pattern, but with a different result to end the weekend on race day.
"Shanghai International Circuit is a great track for so many reasons, but from a driver's perspective it is mainly the technical challenge that this race provides. It's a fairly typical Tilke design in that it has a huge range of corners and features a long back straight leading into a hairpin. It's the most exciting part of the track because cars reach around 300km/h on that section and you're at full throttle for a long time, which can take your breath away. With hard braking down into the hairpin, this is probably the best overtaking spot on the circuit. I hope we can make use of it! I'm looking forward to making up for lost time in Malaysia, so we'll be working very hard towards what I hope will be a good race to end the first part of the season."
Lucas di Grassi, Race Driver #25
"Malaysia was a great race weekend as we finished ahead of the other newcomers. Now we need more of that kind of result. I went back to England to use the Simulator so I could practice on the Shanghai circuit, as I have never been there before. For us right now, it's all about hard work and we're all doing a lot of that to try to keep moving us forward. I'm looking forward to China. From the work I've done in the Sim, I know it's a really technical track that tests all your skills as a driver. The weather is much cooler than the previous race. It's always a difficult race to prepare for but with the knowledge that getting things right through the weekend could lead to another strong race performance."
John Booth, Team Principal
"This week we head back to pretty much where we just came from, after spending a week back in the UK between the Malaysian and Chinese Grands Prix. This might seem a little odd, but we're in a constant development cycle - not just technically, but also in terms of moulding the team, so it's important that we get back to home base, regroup and keep ourselves focused on the job in hand. At the same time as maximising our chances for China, we're headlong into preparations for the European races, a big part of which will rely on having a solid infrastructure on the road with us for the European rounds. I'm delighted to say that our new race preparation building in Dinnington is nearing completion and this will help us enormously for the five months of European races that lie ahead, where we can look forward to a more fluid turnaround operation in between races."
Nick Wirth, Technical Director
"Since our first race finish in Sepang, we've been working to improve the VR-01 further, and we plan to bring improvements to the aerodynamics, mechanical package and transmission, as well as modifications to the fuel system to help with low-fuel pickup. These should allow us to improve our low-fuel qualifying performance and also help our race-pace. Shanghai itself looks like it will be significantly cooler than the last two races. As we will again be using the harder compounds in these lower temperatures, we'll be watching for tyre warm-up issues. The long, low-speed corners dominate this track, so the focus will be on maximising our performance in these. Our aim for the weekend is to build upon the clear improvements we demonstrated at Sepang."