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McLaren F1 and tire graining at the Shanghai circuit

McLaren F1 and tire graining at the Shanghai circuit

16/04/2024

Facing ‘headaches’ from tire graining and the track’s design, McLaren F1 gears up for an intriguing yet challenging weekend at the Shanghai Grand Prix, according to team director Stella.

McLaren F1 is unsure if the Shanghai circuit will suit them as Formula 1 returns to China for the first time since 2019. The track’s numerous slow corners will certainly not favor the MCL38, but Lando Norris is confident that the weekend format may offer opportunities.

“It’s been a while since we raced in Shanghai, so I’m eager to return. Our last race was a bit tough, but we still managed to score some points. We’ve taken the time to analyze the lessons learned and prepare for this weekend,” said Norris.

“It will be good to see what we can do with the Sprint weekend. The different sessions make things more interesting for everyone. It may not be a circuit that suits us, but we are ready to give our best once more.”

For his part, Oscar Piastri will experience the Chinese Grand Prix and the Shanghai circuit for the first time: “As this is the first Sprint weekend of the season, it will be very important to make the most of this first practice session to get familiar with the track.”

“I’ve driven in the simulator at the MTC, but of course, it’s different when you’re on the track. I hope we can try to score some extra points for the team and have a positive weekend.”

Are there “great opportunities” to seize after all?

McLaren F1’s director, Andrea Stella, explains why he is concerned about the upcoming Grand Prix. The circuit is not entirely suitable for the car, and notably, the behavior of the tires is very unpredictable.

“It will certainly be a challenging event, from several perspectives,” admits Stella. “What will the situation with the tarmac be? Let’s not forget that China was one of the circuits most severe in terms of graining, so how will the tires cope?”

“There won’t be much testing to find out where we stand in terms of graining. It’s also a tricky circuit in terms of balancing very high-speed turns, like at the entrance of turn 1, and many low-speed sections. Thinking about it in isolation gives me a headache.”

The Italian predicts a challenging weekend but wants to seize all opportunities: “Once you consider competitiveness, I think you have to tell yourself, ‘if I don’t do a perfect job, but do a bit better than the others, then it could be a great opportunity.'”

“At the same time, I must say that from this early part of the season, China is the circuit that concerns me the most in terms of competitiveness because there are many low-speed turns, hairpins, and you spend a lot of time in the corners.”

“So far, we haven’t been able to sufficiently improve the car in these long, low or medium-speed corners. So, from a competitiveness standpoint, I expect a more difficult situation.”

McLaren F1 and tire graining at the Shanghai circuit

McLaren F1 and tire graining at the Shanghai circuit. McLaren F1 and tire graining at the Shanghai circuit

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