A slightly bizarre three week break after just two races of the 2012 season put a halt on the great momentum we were building up, however that is about to be put right. This weekend sees Formula One return to action at the Chinese Grand Prix, with the entire F1 paddock upping sticks to Shanghai for the weekend. A lot of the attention in the sport is focused on the activities in Bahrain, but for now, it is to China that we must turn our focus.

Event schedule

Fernando Alonso took the lead of the championship after two events, with the McLaren drivers following behind him. It’s still close at the top, which is a good sign – particularly after last year’s experiences! There’s still plenty of racing to be had though, and another stash of 101 points available at Shanghai.

Session Timetable
Date Day Session Time (GMT +0100)
13 April Friday Free Practice 1 03:00
Free Practice 2 07:00
14 April Saturday Free Practice 3 04:00
Qualifying 07:00
15 April Sunday Grand Prix 08:00

Support racing for this event includes Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.

The weather

Looking at the weather from a couple of day’s distance, it appears as though there are showers on the horizon. Friday looks set to be a rainy day, and Sunday also could hold some moisture in the air. Saturday may escape from the rain, but the sun might still be hiding away behind those clouds.

Friday, 13 April

  • 13℃
  • Low: 9℃
  • Humidity: 90%
  • Chance of showers
Saturday, 14 April

  • 15℃
  • Low: 11℃
  • Humidity: 70%
  • Cloudy weather
Sunday, 15 April

  • 14℃
  • Low: 12℃
  • Humidity: 89%
  • Rainy days

Circuit map

Sidepodcast F1: Story image
DRS Zones
DRS detection On turn 12
DRS activation 1 752m before turn 14

We’re continuing on with single DRS here in China, with the detection coming on the twisting turn 12. The activation will be halfway down the long straight, which will give any passers plenty of time to make their position stick before reaching the tight turn 14.

The zones are in the same place as this time last year, and there were plenty of overtaking moves to behold there – 67, according to F1.com. That made it the third highest of the year, although the weather may have played a part!

The circuit

Circuit Data
Name Shanghai International
Location China
Timezone GMT +0800
First Race 2004
Laps 56
Length 5.451 km
Distance 305.066 km
Start / Finish Offset 0.000 km

China brings to the table some of the longest straights on the calendar and some of the more complex corner combinations. The first sector can prove particularly challenging, with the initial corner turning in on itself to almost become a complete circle. The high speeds and tight turns provide high g forces for the drivers to deal with, so new or out of practice drivers could struggle.

We’re looking at a high downforce circuit, where the strategies will fall somewhere in the 2 to 3 stop range. Look for Sauber to be one-stopping! The track can be tough on brakes, so keep an eye on the drivers who are still getting to grips with their cars or aren’t happy with the setup when Sunday comes rolling around.

2011 Results
Session Driver Team Time Links
Free Practice 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:38.739 Live / Results
Free Practice 2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:37.688 Live / Results
Free Practice 3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:34.968 Live / Results
Qualifying Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:33.706 Live / Results
Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:36:58.226 Live / Results
Fastest Lap Mark Webber Red Bull 1:38.993

Tyre compounds

Sidepodcast F1: Soft and medium compounds

Soft and medium compounds

It’s back to the medium and soft compounds like we had at the start of the season, with the white and yellow sidewalls making a reappearance. Motorsport boss Paul Hembery is intrigued to find out how the rubber will work around the circuit, as he quite enjoyed last year’s eventful race!