Formula 1 2017: 5 Things To Expect From The Chinese GP
By Sameer Contractor
1 mins read
Published on April 8, 2017
- Ferrari will be looking to dominate the season with another win
- The Shanghai circuit is expected to provide ample of overtaking action
- Mercedes wants to regain its leadership after losing pole in Melbourne
The latest season of Formula One kick started in Melbourne, Australia last month and certainly has given the glimpse of an exciting year ahead. Sure, the Australian Grand Prix wasn't the most spectacular race out there, but it did have some interest results with Ferrari making it to the pole passing Mercedes while the new wider tyres from Pirelli also turned out be faster. The Chinese GP is up next this weekend (8-9th April) and the Shanghai International Circuit will be a more appropriate testing ground for not only the team and drivers, but also the cars to put forth their skills. Here's what you should look out for this weekend at the Chinese GP.
1. Can the new cars overtake?
A major concern for F1 fans and critics alike has been the lingering question on whether the new cars will be able to overtake or not. The Melbourne circuit wasn't even close to proving that, but Shanghai definitely is. The Chinese GP last year saw an overwhelming 181 overtaking moves, for a number of reasons, and while do not expect that much action, it will surely be the ideal track to watch out for some nail biting action. About 5.4 km or 80 per cent of the track is spent on a series of bends, but it is a wide circuit allowing for overtakes. Then, there is the season's longest straight at 1.2 km, where the DRS will be available. However, the question is, will the cars be within one second of each other at the detection point for the DRS to become available.
2. Will Ferrari retain its leadership?
Ferrari managed to secure a win at Melbourne this season, but is that enough to prove their mettle? While the Australia GP was an ecstatic moment for the Italian team as well as Sebastian Vettel fans, the team will now have to prove that the victory wasn't just one-off. Vettel's pace has improved tremendously since late last season, followed by a power packed winter testing period. Something we saw in the opening race, while Ferrari's new motor too seems to have packed in better performance over last year's unit. The cool weather in Shanghai also makes for a more favourable climate this weekend, but the rain gods could make way for a wet start.
Moreover, the Shanghai circuit can be hard on tyres and saving them becomes crucial in order minimise frequent pit stops. The same turned out be the game changing factor in Melbourne and Vettel's ability to save his tyres might just work here as well.
3. Mercedes will be looking for redemption
Mercedes is one of the most successful teams on the grid right now and also one of the fastest. So, clearly, the loss in Melbourne wasn't something anyone expected for the team. That said, the Brackley based outfit will be in a redemption mode, all set to take the victory from Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton will also look to lead his way to the finish line in Shanghai as he aims to secure the world champion title this year. Last year saw former teammate Nico Rosberg seal the title. Could the Chinese GP be the start of that?
For teammate Valterri Bottas, the next race will be about maintaining form. The Mercedes driver seemed competitive and fast in the season opener finishing third and will be looking to grab a chunk in the top honours this time as well.
4. Will the McLaren-Honda struggle continue?
McLaren showed tremendous improvement in Melbourne, but it is still a long way to go for the Honda powered outfit. The team's power struggle is most apparent and Shanghai's long, fast straights will pose a concern for Alonso and team. The Honda's engine has the least amount of grunt on the grid mainly due to lack of electrical power deployment, and its fuel consumption isn't too high either. However, the team's focus remains to bring the car home at the end of the race.
5. Giovinazzi fills in for Wehrlein
Pascal Wehrlein at Sauber will it out for the second consecutive race due to fitness issues caused by his crash in the Race of Champions. Replacing Wehrlein for the second time will be the reserve driver at Ferrari, Antonio Giovinazzi. The Italian made a strong start at Australia qualifying 16th and finishing 12th. However, the Chinese GP will be the young driver's first full weekend, which could see some more impressive driving from him. Moreover, Wehrlein, by his own admission may not be ready for Bahrain as well, which means Giovinazzi just might get a second successive race weekend.
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