In less than one week spotlights will be switched on the F1 world championship again. The Shanghai venue will be the third round of the season and it’s going to be an interesting racing weekend from a technical point of view.
In Shanghai we’ll see the Pirelli soft tyres (P Zero Yellow) making their debut in the championship. Soft tyres will be tested for the first time in different weather conditions if compared with the first two venues. Besides soft tyres, drivers will also use the already lapped medium tyres (P Zero White) to be used on a track which usually alternates dry conditions with wet ones. Teams have had two weeks to analyse the strategy, learn how to make the most of the Pirelli compounds and compare all data collected during the first two races.
As far as tyres are concerned, the Pirelli is willing to strengthen the tyres compound in order to extend their duration. As we saw during the Malaysian GP, pitting three times per car it’s too much and it’s so difficult to avoid making mistakes. Pit-stops are getting more and more dangerous, especially if we consider the pit-stop time which is shorter and shorter. Teams and mechanics are subject to a remarkable level of stress.
The car designed by Adrian Newey still remains the reference car, but they’ll have to sort out a problem regarding drivers’ management. I’m expecting the Ferrari to undertake an offensive strategy. The Malaysian event has to be quickly forgotten and they have to try to regain the lost ground. Historically speaking, the car from Maranello has always been at ease with both compounds. We’ll see if Mercedes will deliver a good performance again or if the result achieved in Sepang was a bolt from the blue. It was just in China that one year ago Rosberg scored his first win.
Little reassuring voices are heard about Lotus, due to the critical economic situation. So, I hope teams will soon sign the new Concorde Agreement. The situation is quite critical and the 2014 is just round the corner. The debut of turbo engines will cause a remarkable increase in costs.
Those could be the ingredients for a weekend full of suspense, which will hopefully help us to better understand the quality of each squad.