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The Event
With the European season at an end, Formula One’s next stop is Asia and the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday 1st October. Debuted on the calendar in 2004, this year’s race will be only the third Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit, one of the most remarkable venues visited all season. The state of the art facility, located in the north-western suburbs of the city, is in size and scale the most impressive venue anywhere in the world, the bold architecture unparalleled in F1. With just two races to go before the season finale in Brazil, the team is working hard in an effort to re-establish its competitive form.

Between the races
With no testing responsibilities prior to Shanghai, both Mark and Nico enjoyed a few days at home before traveling to China for a busy week of marketing engagements in the lead up to the race. Nico’s first commitment is on Tuesday in downtown Shanghai where he will be launching the first official Oris Nico Rosberg Limited Edition watch. At the same time, Mark will be joining Neil Pryde’s award-winning ship, Hi-Fi, twice the winner of the Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship. Mark will be joined on board by skilled members of the Hong Kong Sea School for a day of sailing around Hong Kong with RBS. On Wednesday, Nico will take a trip down the financial district of Guangzhou in his Formula One car, an event arranged by Allianz, while Mark will be favouring a two-wheeled method of transport over his race car when he joins China's premier cycling squad, The Marco Polo Team, for a day of fitness challenges in Beijing. Both drivers’ final commitment en-route to the GP weekend will be their attendance at the Royal Bank of China for the official unveiling of the dual branding that RBS and the Royal Bank of China will share on the car this weekend.

Making the car go faster
The team completed a four day test at Silverstone last week with Alex Wurz and Narain Karthikeyan. Using an FW28A chassis, with the Cosworth engine, Alex concentrated on testing a new aero package that will be rolled out for the final rounds of the season and comprehensive tyre evaluations to assist the team in selection at the track. All FW28s will benefit from new front wings and barge boards in China, as well as minor bodywork modifications. Alongside preparations for China, Japan and Brazil, the test team carried out the first track test of the Toyota-powered interim Williams FW28B. Completing 745kms and experiencing only minor teething problems, the debut outing of the new engine and 2007-spec gearbox, two months’ ahead of last year’s schedule, proved promisingly successful.

Shanghai from a technical perspective
Resembling the Chinese symbol for “high”, Shanghai’s track layout is a demanding mix of straights, turns and hairpins. Over the 5.4km lap, the drivers will negotiate seven left- and seven right hand turns, the tightest of which being turn one, entered into flat out but exited in second as the corner squeezes tighter and tighter before a left-hander into turn two. With so many slow and medium speed corners over one lap, the car must have perfect balance, achieved through an efficient aero package. Although dominated by corners, Shanghai has two long straights (the longest being between turns 13 and 14 which stretches to 1,175m) which will see drivers reach speeds of 327km/h and raise the average lap speed to 205km/h. The engineers must, therefore, provide a set-up which also offers high top speeds and low drag levels without compromising the cornering stability. Similar to Istanbul Park, the track at Shanghai measures, on average, between 13 and 15 metres in width (20 metres at turn 13) so offers ample room for overtaking manoeuvres and the perfect setting for a riveting race on Sunday afternoon.

Mark Webber
“I like going to China. It’s a very nice city and the track is amazing, it’s probably one of the best we compete at all season. A Tilke-designed circuit, it’s inevitably very demanding for the drivers and the car, but I enjoy driving there. The race only made its debut on the calendar in 2004, but the fans are getting more and more interested in Formula One, which is great because it’s such an important market for us. It wasn’t a great result for the team in Monza so we’ll be looking to finish the season with some points scoring finishes.”

Nico Rosberg
“I’ve had a quiet time since Monza, just relaxing at home and concentrating on my training. I haven’t raced at Shanghai before, so I obviously don’t know the track at all. I went to the race there last year, just to see how a Grand Prix weekend goes in preparation for this year, and thought that the track looks great. I’ll have my work cut out for me on Friday to learn the circuit as quickly as I can, but overall I’m looking forward to driving there and I’m really hoping we will have a good weekend.”

Sam Michael, Technical Director, WilliamsF1
“Shanghai circuit has a unique layout, with a good mixture of corner speeds and straights. It is quite twisty in areas, particularly at the first corner where the track continues to tighten up, which can often catch some drivers out. Combined with a few straight sections around the lap, Shanghai requires a high downforce configuration on the car. The car must be well balanced and have the ability to change direction quickly. Previous races have shown that overtaking opportunities are available in China, most notably going in to the second to last corner of the lap. Strategy will most likely be two stops.

We had a positive test at Silverstone last week where Alex tested a revised aero package that we will bring with us for the final three rounds. We also concentrated on tyre testing in preparation for these races and are confident of our selection. This season has been tough for the team, so some good results in Asia and Brazil would be welcome and well deserved for everyone at Grove, and for the crew at Cosworth, who have all worked so hard this year.”

Simon Corbyn, Head of F1 Race Engineering, Cosworth
“Shanghai circuit’s most significant feature is the combination of relatively long straights and several key, tight corners which drop the engine down to low speeds, such as those seen at the hairpin at turn 14. These low, mid-corner engine speeds potentially pose drivability and traction control issues, but no problems have been flagged on our test cells in Northampton. The wide engine operating speed range of the latest CA2006 engine, coupled with Cosworth’s experience of engine tuning without the use of variable inlet trumpets, will be advantageous in Shanghai.”

Race distance/laps 5.451kms / 3.387 miles. 56 laps = 305.066kms / 189.568 miles
Local race start time Local: 14.00, GMT: 06.00
2005 fastest lap K Raikkonen, McLaren Mercedes: 1:33.242
2005 pole sitter F Alonso, Renault F1: 1:34.080
2005 race winner F Alonso, Renault F1
2005 winning tyre Michelin
Pit-stop schedule 1 stop: Laps 27 - 33
2 stops: Laps 15 – 20, 33 - 38
3 stops: Laps 10 – 14, 23 – 27, 39 - 44

Races Entered 2
Wins -
Poles -
Fastest Laps -
2004 RS Q5/DNF JPM Q11/R5
2005 MW Q10/R7 AP Q13/R13

GPs Entered 475
Wins 113
Poles 125
Fastest Laps 129
Podiums 294
Laps Raced 47,669
Laps Led 7,461
Points 2,521.5


  • thanks James.

    can I ask how's Mark been lately, with the divorce imminent.... how do the Williams workforce (in general) feel about losing Marky?
  • [Edited on 27-9-06 by james]
  • Rain is forecast for part of the weekend - mainly Saturday (quali) as far as I can see it. This will affect tire choices if they quali in wets and or intermediates. The choice of tire for race day (which looks to be dry) will be a huge gamble.

    This should be good fun.
  • i missed that comment dammit... i understand why you likely had to edit though.

    perhaps you could mail me (in confidence)?

  • Of course everyone will miss Mark but we are really looking forward to having Alex in the race seat - his feedback is something else and he is extremely highly motivated and has a lot to prove
  • You must be joking. Wurz is a busted flush. There's a good reason why he spent 5 years as a test driver. Yes his technical feedback is good. But he is only as good as his car and Williams look like they'll produce another shitbox for next year.
    PS you can stick a fork in Rosberg. He's just about done!
  • Go Ferdy! Great quali, Schumi down at 6th. Honda seems to have woken up.
  • Good to see Fissi got his act together also. WTF has happened at Toyota? My Skoda could out qualify them!
  • Did anyone notice Fisico looked yellow during the press conference?

    He's blending in well in China:P
  • Honda have thrown the kitchen sink at engine development. After this gp engine development is frozen for 3 years!
  • rather shitted off that just as Mark is leaving suddenly Williams realise that perhaps the aero dept is letting the team down and that they really need help there.... real help that news was for Mark. :(

    oh, and if you fixed the reliability Frank you'd have had about 50 points this year.
  • My dear Petroltorque.

    With the departure of the team now fading to memory, along with the verbal scraps involving Stoddart, I can no longer think of you as the 'Sawbones'.

    After that one above though, I realise that you are not a one-target cynic. You are indeed universal and as such you should have an epithet more in keeping with that broad spectrum of pessimism.

    Henceforth, you will be known to me as the living embodiment of that other great 'keeper of the flame' from antiquity. None other than the hereditary leader of the Bonni; Marcus Porcious CATO (Uticensis - not Censorius).
  • Wht a shame for Kimi! He could have certainly won this Chinese GP! But when it's not your season, it just isn't.
  • Rather simplistic to say that fixing reliability would bring 50 points. You' could say that other teams that fixed their reliabilty would have some affect on Williams results as well.
  • Actually Peter Windsor said it in last month's F1 Racing, Petrol. I think he'd know better than you, or I. ;)

    Williams have pissed 4th or 5th in the WCC down the drain this year and, in effect, the chance of Cosworth to stay in F1 in my opinion.

    Hard to demonstrate your product when the car keeps shitting itself.

    [Edited on 1-10-06 by MinardiP1]
  • I really hope that Cosworth are not blamed for Williams woes. In my view they did an outstanding job!
    PS Massa really is a tosser. No you can't make the brealing zone once you go off the racing line.
    PPS Heidfield should also receive a bollocking for allowing himself to be boxed in by Button.
  • So where are all the Schumi detractors now. I am no major fan but that was a great drive with an assist by the tire performance and mother nature.

    Massa choked as well - lets hope TOIT reliability stays for Kimi. If he did not have bad luck then he'd have no luck at all.

    [Edited on 1-10-06 by MCSF]
  • some thoughts.......

    1: What I found most remarkable about Michael Schumacher's China weekend was his being able to qualify 6th...... it looked that there was no way he would get out of the 2nd round let alone qualify 6th........ brilliant.

    2: My boy Felipe Massa shit the bed...again. When we were at Monza, he was impressive .......he seemed to be continuing his Turkish "form".....then he came unglued during the 3rd round of qualifying and then the race.......and his form didn't improve this weekend...... Ferrari need him to raise his game in Japan and Brazil. When we talked to Mr. Minardi in Faenza, I asked him about Felipe....his response was that he was a really good person but he was only a #2 driver...... ( I also asked him about Vettel..... he wasn't really too impressed...BUT he was VERY impressed with Kubica...)

    3: Toyota was pathetic...again.... "IF" Williams can get their act together next year....maybe the Toyota brass will decide that putting all their eggs in the Williams basket just might make a lot more sense than what is coming out of Cologne......

    4: McLaren showed again why "Red" Kimi is making the move to Ferrari........

    5: I wonder if Fred is having any 2nd/3rd/4th "thoughts about leaving Renault for McLaren.......

    6: As for Ferrari next year, there are a lot of potential problems....... It looks like Kimi will not be able to start testing with Ferrari until January......plus, after working with Michael all these years, how long will it take the engineers and Kimi to get comfortable with each other.....and Kimi is not noted as a great testor........ as an aside, it was really cool to be walking around Maranello checking out the Museum and the Ferrari shop and listen to Luca testing in the background........ or was that Simon......

    7: Adrian Newey...... he sure has to be a very busy fellow......does he design both the Red Bull (with Ferrari engines) and the Toro Rosso (with Renault engines)..and JUST how different will these be from each other......

    enough for now....
  • Speculation is now that Red Bull may be very close to wrangling themselves out of the senior squad having to take the Ferrrari supply.

    Renault engines in a Newey chassis with DC and Webbo at the helm? Oh yes please. ;)
  • it was a nice race, well done to ferrari. for the first time i felt some pity for alonso, if he had a shorter pitstop, he would have been able to catch shumy.

    but i am really looking forward to see the kimster next year in that red car!
  • Murph great to have your insights again. Yes the lad Kubica seems to have something. I admire his decision to go to groove slicks. It could have paid off in spades.
    One legend we know could have mastered that feat was Senna. Many a time he'd strap on the slicks 5 laps before anyone else!
  • What a funny race. Michelin inters were weird but came back at the end.

    Michael's to lose now ... No, it really is too close to call.

    Fred to McLaren ... oh dear. As things stand, 2007 is Kimi's.
  • I still think Alonso will take it this year, the Renault is a stronger car at the moment. Fisi and Massa are both weak of mind and weak of block, so it's up to the main players to sort it out.

    The way it should be.

    How much $ would you put on MS doing a Jerez redux and taking Alonso out at turn 1 in Brazil? ;)
  • "How much $ would you put on MS doing a Jerez redux and taking Alonso out at turn 1 in Brazil?"

    it obviously depends on the Japan race result! :)

    Seriously, Shumy will not end his career in that way.
  • Originally posted by MCSF
    So where are all the Schumi detractors now. I am no major fan but that was a great drive with an assist by the tire performance and mother nature.

    OK! OK! Nice drive by Michael.

    ...but I had to smile when the commentator joked that a guy in red overalls had been seen pulling out the plug at Renault!
    ...just when they made their mistakes.

    Dr Spin

    and did you see that other guy in the red overalls grease the Renault champagne bottle? :P

    [Edited on 2-10-06 by Dr_Spin]
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