F1: China Preview

F1: China Preview

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Nico Rosberg won last year’s race on his way to his only World Championship title
(Photo from: www.marca.com)

After an entertaining first race of the season in Australia where we all saw the new generation of Formula 1 cars in action for the first time, the calendar sees us now head to China for the second round of the season.

Lewis Hamilton will be hoping for better luck in 2017 than he did last season where he suffered an engine failure in qualifying and had to start at the back of the grid. He will also be hoping that he can match the speed of the Ferraris after missing out on the Australian Grand Prix win due to Vettel’s overall faster speed.

2017 will be China’s 14th race, having made its debut in 2004 and has since become a drivers favourite, due to the fast flowing corners, high speed straights and overtaking opportunities.

In addition to this, China also boasts one of the trickiest corner formations on the F1 calendar, including a corner that Fernando Alonso describes as his favourite of the year. This is the opening section of the lap which begins with a flat out right which quickly tightens, ensuring drivers must brake while turning, a notoriously difficult feat to execute. This turns into turn 2 which drops away and into the right-hand bend that is turn 3.

This section has caught out several drivers over the years and often create chaos at the start of the race.

Leading up to this weekend’s race, there have been a few stories breaking regarding teams and drivers.
The biggest story is that Pascal Wehrlein, who missed Australia due lack of fitness following the injuries he suffered at the Race of Champions last year, will again be missing this weekend, as he is still not race ready. The 22-year-old will once again be replaced by Italian Antonio Giovinazzi, who impressed hugely on his debut.

This should have been no surprised since the 23-year-old narrowly missed out on the GP2 title last season, being beaten by eventual champion, and teammate, Pierre Gasly. This achievement was made all the more impressive as it was Giovinazzi’s debut season in the category, and if he had won, he would have been only the second rookie to achieve this, after Lewis Hamilton achieved it in 2006.

The news that Wehrlein is again missing has caused a lot of interest up and down the paddock, with some drives hoping there isn’t more to his absence than him simply being unfit. This has led to Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber team principal, to slam any conspiracy theories that may be circulating regarding their driver.

Another driver that has had to dismiss claims in the break between the two races is McLaren’s Fernando Alonso who has distanced himself from rumours that he may quit McLaren Honda mid-season if results do not improve. The Honda engine has struggled this year, as it is both slower and less reliable than their 2016 spec power unit.

Alonso was quoted in saying that “he’d rather than be here than in a supermarket in his local town”

Regarding Honda power units, Sauber have also been distancing themselves regarding the Japanese outfit after rumours started to gather pace that they would switch to Honda power units halfway through the year. However the Swiss outfit have confirmed that talks have taken place regarding 2018, if they are to move away from their current supplier. Sauber currently use year old Ferrari engines and have used Ferrari engines for all but four years since 1997.

The final piece of news is that F1 is currently conducting an F1 fan survey to see what the fans of the sport want and how they want to see the sport move forward. So far the survey has gathered over 100,000 responses so if you would like to have your say on the future of the sport, please fill it in when you have a moment.

With heavy rain forecast the weekend’s race should be an interesting one, as the new generation of cars have not yet seen large amounts of rain and water. Hopefully the battle at the front is as close as it was in Australia.