Honda F1 Chinese Grand-Prix preview

Honda F1 Chinese Grand-Prix preview

09.04.2019: F1 2019 Round 3 Chinese GP - Setup The 1000th Grand Prix in history and suitably hosted at Shanghai’s facility that takes the title of 'biggest of the year'

F1 2019 Round 3 Chinese GP - Setup
 
 
The 1000th Grand Prix in history and suitably hosted at Shanghai’s facility that takes the title of 'biggest of the year'.




 
If you’ve been before, you’ll know your feet are thankful for a sit down on the flight back! The long pit straight is packed with 29,000 fans, followed by a first two corners designed to push the tyres hard. The circuits 1.2km straight is a true test for the power unit, running at maximum revs for about 18 seconds between turns 13 and 14.



Turn 14 brought with it more drama than we’d have liked during the race last year, with our two cars colliding after a miss-communication. Despite being less competitive than in Bahrain, the power unit ran smoothly so we’ll be looking to replicate that again this year.
 
 

 
Toyoharu Tanabe
Technical Director, Honda Racing F1
    



“As we arrive in China for the third round of the season, we can be reasonably satisfied with the way things are going so far this year. We had a good winter test, a podium in Melbourne and three cars in the points in Bahrain, with all four cars finishing both races. But there is still room for improvement in terms of the overall PU and chassis package with both our teams, for us to be able to fight with the top contenders on equal terms.



The Shanghai Circuit is a track with 2 long straights and extremely slow hairpins, as well as a variety of corners with different radii, which presents very challenging situations for both PU and chassis. For everyone at the track this weekend, it will be a historic moment, as we will be part of the one thousandth Formula One Grand Prix. Honda first joined the championship in Germany in 1964, when the series was just over 120 races old and this weekend will be our 425th appearance at a Grand Prix, either as a team or as an engine/PU supplier. We hope to have a good race in this anniversary moment.”
 


 
Alexander Albon
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda


“It's good to be going to China having scored my first F1 points in Bahrain, although getting them wasn't something that I had been worrying about. It was really good to get them as a reward for all the hard work from the team behind the scenes. You could say there was an element of luck, as other drivers ran into trouble, but we were in the right place to benefit from that and we ran reliably, so I feel it was a deserved result.



All the same, Shanghai will be a new track for me so it won't be that simple, as it's a challenging circuit and from my time driving it in the simulator, it doesn't look easy at all. But that's all part of the game. The sim has given me the knowledge I need for it not to be totally alien and, of course, I've watched a lot of onboard footage and I will take it step by step. Having two days testing in Bahrain was very useful for me, as I have spent relatively little time in a Formula 1 car, and I will also be using what we learned at the test going into the race weekend.



From the sim, I can see the Shanghai track has some interesting parts, like the first sector: one long corner and I think in “real life” the entry into Turn 1 in Quali, with all the g-forces, is going to be unbelievable. I'm looking forward to that and I'm excited about it, because it's a cool race and it will be my first visit to China. And of course, it's the thousandth Grand Prix. I've got a custom helmet in honour of that and it's a tribute to Prince Bira, who was the first Thai driver in Formula 1 - the only one before me actually – and he raced in the very first of those thousand Grands Prix at Silverstone in 1950.”
 
 


Daniil Kvyat
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
    


“Not everything clicked together a hundred percent in Bahrain. I didn't get to do all the laps I wanted, so that didn't help with the way the track evolves in Bahrain. We didn't get the best out of Qualifying and the race itself was a little bit scrappy. However, on a positive note, my actual pace looked competitive, which is encouraging looking ahead to China.



It's also been useful to have the two days testing in Bahrain, with Alex working for the team, while I drove the Pirelli test. In China, we must work hard to get a good setup so that everything works at its best. If we do that, I believe we can have a really good weekend. I have good memories of China, especially in 2016, when I went from sixth on the grid to stand on the podium in third place. It's an interesting track with a good mix of some slow and medium speed corners and that very long straight: get it right and it's a satisfying track to drive.



There are some tricky sections, including the hairpin which, after the very long straight and hard braking, is challenging as are the first two turns - they are extremely long corners. This weekend will be the one thousandth Grand Prix and it's cool to be part of that. It means the drivers in this race will be a part of F1 history and it's nice to be on the list. Shanghai itself is an exciting place and, although we don't stay in the centre, I usually manage to spend a day there - it's a very interesting city.”
 
 



Pierre Gasly
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing


“I’m really excited to go racing again for the third round of the season. China is not actually a place I really know well and last year was my first race there but I’m looking forward to going back. Shanghai is a really special track with the long back straight and the technical part at the beginning.


Now we just need to keep the improvements we’ve made from one race to another and hopefully we’ll be able to find some more performance and fight for even better points. Red Bull took its first victory in China and this year’s race is also F1’s 1000th Grand Prix so it will be a special weekend. Looking back to Bahrain, it was not an easy weekend with the changing conditions but at the same time it was good to finish inside the points. Now we’re just focusing on the areas we can improve on before next weekend.”
 
 


Max Verstappen
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing



“The Chinese Grand Prix is always a good one for racing because the track gives you a lot of opportunities for overtaking, so I’m looking forward to hopefully having an exciting race there. The first sector is really nice because you can take a lot of different lines through the long right-hander so it can be quite interesting during the race in terms of trying to stay out of the dirty air.



 The track can also be quite hard on the left front tyre so in the race you’re always looking at how you can use the least amount of energy in that corner. Overall, Shanghai provides you with a lot of opportunities to fight and set up overtakes like for example in turn six, where you’re already preparing and setting up for that in Turn 1. We scored some good points and maximised the result in Bahrain but we still have a lot of things to learn about the car. We’ve been busy back at the factory and hopefully we can close the gap in China. This year in Shanghai is also the tenth anniversary of the Team’s first race win, so hopefully we can put on a good show, especially for the passionate fans there who always turn out.”
 
 


 

 
 Honda Motor Co.- photos Red Bull Getty Images

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09.04.2019 / MaP

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