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Shanghai GP Pirelli Challenges

Pirelli Faces Fresh Challenges at Revamped Shanghai GP

14/04/2024

Post-COVID, the Shanghai GP returns with a new track surface, posing unique challenges for Pirelli and teams.

Simone Berra, Pirelli’s Chief Engineer in F1, explained how challenging the Chinese Grand Prix will be for the teams, the drivers, and especially for the Italian manufacturer.

After a five-year hiatus from Shanghai due to Covid-19, Formula 1 must reacquaint itself with a track that has changed. It has been completely resurfaced, and most bumps have been removed to avoid any unpleasant surprises with the ground effect cars.

“It’s like a new circuit, honestly,” Berra stated. “Because we have new cars, new tires, 18-inch rims. The circuit hasn’t been used for five years, it was only used for a race a year or something like that. So, it will be very green and quite dirty, even though it’s clear that it will be cleaned.”

“And we must understand, even by measuring the tarmac before the event, how it has changed. In the past, it was quite rough in terms of micro roughness and macro roughness. We need to understand how aging has occurred over the past few years.”

“It’s a good challenge for us, it’s interesting. The other thing is that after five years, it’s even a sprint race, with only free practice. So, there is not much data, and even for the teams, it will be a great challenge, not just for us, but even more so for the teams.”

High wear due to graining?

Pirelli has already opted for three tire compounds but hasn’t sent engineers in advance. Berra assures that the checking and reconnaissance work will be done before the weekend: “Unfortunately, I don’t have anyone available to do it. So, we will do it directly on Wednesday.”

“Anyway, it doesn’t change much, because the selection is already made. We have made a mid-range selection, so C2, C3, C4, which keeps us safe from any possibility. C5 was really too soft, and C1 probably too conservative, given the track.”

Tire wear could be a problem due to graining. Even though this phenomenon is not widespread at the Shanghai circuit, the 2024 F1s might be prone to it: “In the past, we didn’t have severe graining, but we did have slight graining. So yes, it’s a possibility.”

“I expect some graining, particularly on C3 and C4, for C2 I expect more resilience compared to C3 and C4, so we should be covered. Let’s say that in this case, the wear rate is high in case of graining.”

Shanghai GP Pirelli Challenges

Shanghai GP Pirelli Challenges. Shanghai GP Pirelli Challenges

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