Here’s Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane’s comments on the various corners of the track.
The circuit layout has two straights and a mix of corners, from tight hairpins to flowing curves and radial turns. The constant changes of direction mean correct engine mapping is extremely important to give the drive out of the corners. Turns 12 and 13, the radial corner that leads onto the longest straight on the circuit, demand particular attention.
TURNS 1 + 2
These can be bumpy which unsettles the car. This makes braking difficult in the entry phase of the first corner. Turn 1 leads straight into turn 2 and can be viewed as a single, increasing radius corner which places a lot of load on the front tyres. Tyre management in this corner helps with the durability of the tyres.
TURNS 3, 6 + 10
There are heavy traction demands out of these corners.
Heavy braking here.
TURNS 7 + 8
Good high speed change of direction required here.
Braking into turn 9 is tricky – transition from high speed corners into heavy braking. Exiting is important as it sets the car up for turn ten on to the following straight.
Turn 13 is banked providing an interesting challenge for the drivers.
One of the most high-speed features of the season, the cars have to slow for turn 14 at the end of the long straight. Although this is one of a few heavy braking areas around the track, these are well spread over a lap so the brakes have sufficient time to cool – it’s not a harsh track on braking.
The Lotus F1 Team also gives some info on what kind of a setup the cars will have for the Shanghai track.
1. REAR WING
Slightly less downforce than in Sepang and Albert Park in deference to the opportunities for overtaking provided by the two straights in Shangai.
Shanghai is not a severe circuit for brakes. There are some heavy braking zones of up to 5G of deceleration – turn 1 into 2, turns 6, 11 and 14 but they are well spread over a lap giving time for the discs and pads to cool.
Kerbs are low meaning that the right height can be lower than would otherwise be necessary. Bumpy braking zone into turn one tests the car’s damping capabilities. The set-up needs to encourage good change of direction from the car at both high speeds (turns 7-8) and low speeds (turns 2-3 and 9-10).
Pirelli’s P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres will be nominated. The asphalt is not especially aggressive and temperatures are not particularly high, so there will not be a lot of degradation. There are some significant lateral forces on the car in turns 1, 8 and 13.
5. FRONT WING
Front wing gives slightly less load than at the previous two circuits.
Shanghai is about in the middle of the table for the stresses it puts on engines. There is one very long straight where the engine is pushed to its most severe usage, but the rest of the circuit features 16 medium to low corners meaning the engine is used at relatively lower revs for the rest of the lap. The straight between turns 13 and 14 gives Shanghai the longest straight on the F1 calendar. Gear ratios are therefore carefully calculated to trade off acceleration and maximum speed taking account of aero set-up, engine power, weather, KERS and DRS usage. Short ratios favour acceleration; a longer top gear ratio permits higher maximum speed.