F1 News

mercedes shovlin sees challenge for grand prix china

Mercedes await challenge in China: 'This car generation hasn't been there'

16 April at 09:00

After the Japanese Grand Prix - in which Mercedes were not competitive enough to compete for the podium spots at all - there was some optimism. Andrew Shovlin, the Trackside Engineering Director, spoke of better balance and now a more stable car as pluses. However, it was also clear that there was still plenty of work to be done. Especially with the Chinese Grand Prix coming up, when the teams go into the weekend fairly blind.

After all, it has been five years since Formula 1 last hosted the Shanghai circuit. "Well I mean it's a good challenge that because not just have we not been there for a while, we're straight into a sprint race and it's also the new format where you've got two parc fermés," Shovlin looks ahead.

F1 teams face surprises

There is not much time to prepare the cars for the races in China, as only one free practice session is scheduled. According to the latest weather reports, it is likely to be completed in wet conditions. While F1 teams usually don't want to leave anything to chance, Shanghai could just become one big tombola full of surprises.

Shovlin says: "We're reviewing the historic data, now we've not been there with this generation of cars so the tyres are different, the aerodynamics is very different, there's a lot of work that we need to do and the bulk of that work gets done in simulation but there is also a bit of just re-reading old notes, looking at how the tyres were performing in terms of tyre wear, what was driving degradation to try and build that picture."

With so many uncertainties, things could be a lot of fun in China, Shovlin believes: "We've only got one hour of free practice before we're going straight into that qualifying session so definitely a big challenge but it's quite fun and there's good motivation to work on it because if you can get it right, the opportunities at a sprint race are always greater because someone else may have got it wrong."