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Alonso Expects “Ferrari to be Very Fast” in China

Formula 1 is returning to China for the first time since 2019 which also means the first time this generation of cars will race at the Shanghai circuit....

Formula 1 is returning to China for the first time since 2019 which also means the first time this generation of cars will race at the Shanghai circuit. And to make things even juicier, it’s a sprint weekend. It might be pure chaos this weekend, but even so, Fernando Alonso expects it will help Aston Martin grab a few points.

There is only one practice session in a sprint weekend, however, there are changes to the format allowing parc ferme conditions to be reopened after the sprint and before regular qualifying to allow for teams to adjust their set-up.

Regardless, Alonso thinks the sprint format will help Aston Martin’s chances, though it might not be enough to catch the Ferraris and Red Bulls.

“I think always it gives us a little bit more opportunity when have a little bit of deficit on the pace,” Alonso told the media.

“Mixed conditions or sprint weekend, all these kinds of things always give you something extra. But it’s going to be tough. I think China, with these long corners, front limited circuit, maybe like Australia, I expect Ferrari to be very fast. But also Red Bull. We have a very powerful DRS and maybe that helps in the long China straight. So let’s see.”

Vasseur: “Biggest Question Mark for Me Will be the Tarmac”

While Alonso believes it should be smooth sailing for Ferrari, their team principal, Frederic Vasseur, is worried about one thing in particular – the tarmac. He doesn’t think it’s just him worried either.

“I think it will be a difficult one, but if you have a difficult one for everybody then we will all be in the same situation,” Vasseur told the media.

“The biggest question mark for me will be the tarmac because the layout of the track we know. Most people know that the biggest question mark for me will be the tarmac and probably compared to the last event we have colder conditions.

“We don’t know the roughness of the tarmac, this will be key for the weekend.”

Stella: “China May be a Bit of Damage Limitation for Us”

McLaren team principal, Andrea Stella, has echoed Vasseur’s views though it isn’t the only aspect of the Chinese GP that has him scratching his head.

“Definitely it’s going to be a challenging event, from several points of view,” Stella explained. “What is the tarmac situation will we find?

“At the same time, let’s not forget that China was one of the most severe tracks for graining. So how will the tyres be able to cope with this?

“It’s also a tricky track in terms of balance between some very high-speed corners, like entering corner one, and then many low-speed sections.

“Seeing it in isolation, it gives a headache. But once you see it from a competitive point of view, I think you need to think: ‘If I do not do a perfect job, but a little bit better job than others, then this could be a big opportunity.”

The characteristics of Shanghai International Circuit do not suit those of the McLaren package so Stella believes it might be “a bit of damage limitation for us.”

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