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Haas F1 brings its first upgrades to China despite the Sprint

15/04/2024

Haas F1 faces a unique challenge in Shanghai with its updated vehicle and a new Sprint race format.

Haas F1 arrives in Shanghai with completely different prospects than the last time the team was there. Its director, Ayao Komatsu, however, explains that the circuit and the Sprint format will be a challenge for the team and its drivers, with a reduced schedule this weekend.

“The last time we raced in China was in 2019, so we have a very different car, and moreover, it will be a Sprint weekend. Our biggest challenge will be to get the car set up correctly from FP1,” notes Komatsu.

“At the only practice session of the weekend, we have three sets of tires, so in one hour, we will probably do three runs, and in that time frame, we really need to prepare the car for the Sprint qualifying in the afternoon, so that will be our biggest challenge.”

“Regarding the characteristics of the circuit, I think I will take away a lot of positives from Suzuka where, as I’ve said several times, the weakness of our car was highlighted.”

“In Shanghai, the cornering speeds are lower and the back straight is very long, as is the pit straight, which should suit our car better, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do.”

I’m therefore eager to see what we can do. The weather on Friday seems to be a bit wet, which will be a challenge for the first day to make sure the car is ready for the race. In Shanghai, we will also introduce the very first part of our development program, which we are looking forward to.”

“If the weather is wet, we don’t have much to learn, but every bit of downforce is helpful, which should be positive. If it’s dry, we’d like to spend the session trying to tune the car for the aerodynamic package, so there’s a lot to do.”

“It will be a challenge for everyone”

Nico Hülkenberg appreciates the Shanghai circuit, where he has had good results in the past, as it’s a layout that suits him. Nevertheless, he doesn’t know if the new cars and the completely redone track will suit him as much for this edition.

“I’m very excited about returning to Shanghai,” declared Hülkenberg. “We haven’t been there for a long time so it will be interesting to see how the city has changed, the circuit, and I also have a good feeling.”

“I think my track record is quite good there because it’s a circuit that seems limited at the front with the car rather than at the rear, and I think I naturally adapt well to this style. The track layout is quite fun.”

“It’s not a high-speed circuit, so the VF-24 should not be bad here, and there are also some low-speed corners, so it should suit our car a bit better,” continues the German, before reminding that the other challenge will be the Sprint format.

“Last year, we had mixed Sprint weekends – some good and some very bad – but personally, I don’t mind. I’m always ready for change and this year, the format of the sessions will be different, so I’m curious to see how it turns out and how it will work, but I’m open and excited for the weekend.”

Kevin Magnussen is also pleased to return to Shanghai for the Chinese GP: “I’ve scored points at the Shanghai International Circuit several times and this year, it will be interesting as it has been off the calendar for a while, and it’s the first Sprint of the season, so it will be a challenge for everyone,” acknowledges the Dane.

“There are a few low-speed corners that, I hope, will be favorable to us and the track offers good overtaking opportunities. I’m in a good situation with the car at the moment, so I hope we can have a good race there.”

Haas F1 brings its first upgrades to China despite the Sprint. Haas F1 brings its first upgrades to China despite the Sprint

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