Renault previews Chinese GP

For China most teams have opted for a mix of the three compounds available – Medium, Soft and Supersoft. Laptime and degradation evaluation will be carried out during the second practice session to determine the best race strategy – a two stop using medium and soft or perhaps a more aggressive three stop with soft and supersoft.

– Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director


The Egg Fried Rice of the Pirelli tyre selection. A solid ingredient to any race weekend but certainly not the most punchy of tyres.


The Crispy Aromatic Duck of the round rubber rings. Delivers good things but doesn’t always last as long as you’d want.


The Sweet and Sour of the tyre allocation. Sweet when it delivers its peak performance. Sour when its shorter performance life ends.

Circuit notes

Turn 1

The first corner complex sees the track tighten back on itself, with the driver braking and shifting down through the gears. The driver will be on the brakes for some 3secs in this complex, but the track can be bumpy and unsettle the car especially in the entry phase. Turn 1 leads straight into turn 2 and can be viewed as a single, increasing radius corner which places a lot of load on the front tyres. Good tyre management here helps with tyre durability.

Turn 7

A high speed spoon curve taken in seventh or eighth gear. The g-forces here are around 4g as the driver accelerates while turning. Good high speed change of direction required from the car.

Turn 9

Braking into turn 9 is tricky – transition from high speed corners into heavy braking. Exit is important as it sets the car up for turn ten on to the following straight.

Turn 11

The Turn 11 to 13 complex is a mirror image of the first corner and the driver will again be on the brakes for another 2secs, giving another significant opportunity to recharge the battery.

Turn 13

The exit from Turn 13 is critical as the 1.3km back straight sees the ICE at maximum revs and wide open throttle for around 20secs, or approximately 20% of the lap. Getting a good exit is not easy though as the corner is banked.

Turn 14

The hairpin at the end of the straight requires the drivers to brake from over 320kph to just 60kph. The energy going through the brakes at this point will be massive – an average of 700kW over the 3secs braking distance. Although this is one of a few heavy braking areas around the track, these are well spread over a lap so the brakes have sufficient time to cool – it’s not a harsh track on braking.

Power Unit notes

  • The two long straights and bursts between corners bring the total percentage of wide open throttle time to over 40% of one lap.
  • Shanghai is unusual as there is a very long straight, but a relatively low percentage of the lap is spent at full throttle. This dichotomy is quite unusual as most circuits are one or the other: either a ‘power track’ such as Monza or Montreal, or ‘driveability track’ such as Hungary or Monaco.
  • The average speed over a lap will be 200kph, putting Shanghai in the middle of the table for lap speeds.
  • Race fuel saving will be low, one of the easiest tracks of the year in this respect.
  • Shanghai is one of the most efficient circuits and close to the maximum amount of energy will be stored in the battery per lap. This will allow us to optimize the amount of energy transferred directly from the H to the K or to the battery.
  • The circuit is situated in an industrial zone next to several factories, some of which produce concrete, which leads to a high concentration of dust particles in the air. Air filters and the turbo will be checked after each practice session to prevent blockages and, therefore, a relative loss of power.


Technical notes

Circuit length:                           5.451km

Race distance:                         305.066km

Race start time:                                    14:00

Full throttle time per lap :          46s in Q and 43s in the race

Fuel consumption:                    1.78 kg/lap with no lift-off required

Energy recovery :                    Recovered by the MGUK in brake phase is 1.4MJ with possibility of recovering the maximum FIA allowed 2MJ with overload (using the ICE to charge the battery via the K in part throttle)

Longest time spent at full throttle: 20s on the back straight

Percentage of lap spent braking: 23%

Pitlane length:                          350m

Brakewear:                               Low

Difficulty for PU :                       Medium

Aero level:                                Medium


Shanghai Notes

We know Shanghai is large, but it is actually the biggest city in the world by population. It is also the largest container port. More than 24 million people live in the city.

Noel Coward wrote a play in Shanghai. Private Lives was written in the Cathay Hotel (now Peace Hotel) in 1930.

Since 1921, Shanghai has lost over 180cm in height due to growing skyscrapers and an ever-increasing population. Ironic considering Shanghai means ‘on top of the sea.’

Shanghai cooking is sweeter than other areas in China and they consume more sugar than any other part of China.

The Shanghai Maglev train has a top operational commercial speed of 431 km/h (268 mph), but it has been known to reach 501 km/h (311 mph). A current generation Formula 1 car in its lowest drag configuration with a long straight could probably hit 360 km/h (223mph), but it would obliterate the train though the corners.

Back in the 1930s, when the Foreign YMCA on Nanjing Lu was a popular leisure destination, men and women swam on alternate days, because the men insisted on swimming naked.

Hundreds of Shanghainese parents assemble in People’s Park every weekend for the Shanghai marriage market with the resumes of their unwed children to negotiate potential hook-ups.

Memory Lane

The 2005 Chinese Grand Prix, the race of that season, was won by the newly-crowned World Champion, Fernando Alonso, driving for Renault. His win meant Renault won the Constructors’ Championship. It was the final race to be won by a car with a six-speed gearbox.

What we’ve been up to…

Jolyon has been spending time back in the UK after his two weeks in Australia integrating with the surfer community followed by his rather short Bahrain Grand Prix. He’s been at Enstone in the simulator and training hard.

Kevin’s been focused on his training back in Denmark since Bahrain as well as playing the traffic light recognition game.

Esteban left Bahrain before the Grand Prix to be in action in the DTM test in Hockenheim. Esteban drove on the first and second days of the test, Tuesday and Wednesday, in sometimes damp conditions ahead of the season start at the same venue on the weekend of May 6-8.

What we will get up to this week

Wednesday in Shanghai sees the Shanghai Renault Sport Night taking place at Bar Rouge on The Bund where drivers and management will announce an exciting new initiative for motorsport in Asia as well as the plans from high profile partners.

Jolyon will be looking forward to sweet and sour chicken with egg-fried rice whilst Kevin prefers to visit his favourite Japanese restaurant in Shanghai.

Q&A with Kevin Magnussen


“I really want to get those first points on the board.”

What’s your outlook heading to the third race of the season?

I’m really excited and I really want to get those first points on the board. Give me a normal race with no puncture and no penalty and I think we can do that!

What are your previous memories of racing in the Chinese Grand Prix?

My race in 2014 wasn’t the best, I struggled with the car I had, meaning I finished in thirteenth position. Certainly I’m hoping for a better result on my second visit.

You’ve pushed very hard in the first two races with very promising race pace but it’s been ‘close but no cigar’in terms of points. Is that frustrating?

It is pretty frustrating! That’s how it is in racing sometimes, but we are very close so that does give motivation. The car feels really good. Of course, we want more downforce and more power, but show me a race driver who doesn’t ask for that! Naturally I’m enjoying being back behind the wheel, pushing hard and overtaking, but you have so much work to do from the back that you can have a very strong race yet still finish in eleventh. If we start further up the order and don’t have a first lap incident good things can happen.

What are your thoughts on the layout of the Shanghai International Circuit?

The layout is interesting but it is a very wide circuit and there’s so much run-off area, it doesn’t feel as spectacular as it could be. It does have some really good fast corners; the entry to turn one is special in particular, you enter it from the fastest part of the track and by the end of what is a pretty long corner you’re at about 60kph!

Where’s the overtaking potential?

There are two DRS straights so that’s obviously where you look first for overtaking opportunities. The biggest chance is into the first turn as the DRS zone starts very late on the start-finish straight so you can get close to the car in front. That said, I’m always going to go for any opportunity no matter where it presents itself on a lap!

What’s the target this time?

We know our weaknesses and perhaps Shanghai’s not going to be the friendliest track for us in terms of these but I still think that if we have a good race we can challenge for points. I’m really pumped and excited.


Q&A with Jolyon Palmer


 “Overall the feeling within the team is great.”

What’s the challenge of the Shanghai International Circuit?

I drove it last year in FP1 so I have a reasonable idea about the track. You can get pretty low temperatures there so there’s the challenge of long corners too, which means front tyre graining. It’s almost the exact opposite of Bahrain, which is rear limited.

There are some very technical corners, like turn one that is pretty unique as it goes pretty much back on itself, on to the back straight, which is another long corner that induces graining on the front left. The straight is very long and there’s DRS so in the race you’ll be looking to be as close as possible to the car ahead to slipstream and make a move, then you’re considering your braking point. It’s one of the longest straights on the calendar and it’s right at the end of the lap. You really need to maximise the potential; you can’t afford to mess it up. The long straight means the tyres are being cooled and the brakes are being cooled; both of which you need to be working at their best when you get into the corner.

Does the layout lend itself to racing?

There are two sides to the track, you’ve got the really long straight with heavy braking at the end, then there’s the double DRS zones into the first corner as well so there’s overtaking opportunities there. The middle sector is more about high speed corners where it’s not so easy to follow the car ahead but the corner itself provides the challenge. There’ll always be the element of looking after the tyres in Shanghai

Two race weekends in, is everything as you expected?

Australia was a really good way to kick off the year and we were a little bit ahead of where we thought we’d be so all the pre-season preparation had paid off well. Bahrain was more challenging as it was a weekend where nothing really clicked but overall the feeling within the team is great.

What’s your feedback from Bahrain?

There were a few minor issues, which meant we weren’t able to optimise performance but we should have it all addressed for China. The car has a wellbalanced baseline and all we need is a little bit more performance. This is exactly what we have coming in the future, so everything’s good.

How frustrating was it seeing your race evaporate away before you could take to the grid for the start?

I was pretty gutted! You complete the entire race weekend, all the practice sessions, qualifying, all the debriefs and all that work for a race and to miss even the race start – when there’s the most adrenalin of the weekend, and the part you most look forward to – is really frustrating. The warm-up lap all went to plan, I was getting the tyres where I wanted them, then suddenly in the second to last corner I realised the hydraulic problem as the brakes, then the steering and then the gears went. It was disappointing for me and disappointing for the entire team. The thing about a Grand Prix is that there’s only one race on the weekend – whereas in every other series I’ve contested there is more than one race – so if you have a problem, that’s it; game over. To be packing up before you’ve seen the lights go off is disappointing.

Watching the race from the garage, what were your thoughts?

We knew that the race pace was going to be better than the qualifying pace so I was looking forward to moving up the order, just like we saw Kevin do. I think we should have both been able to have a good crack at the top ten.

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Fred Talmadge

If I was a back marker why not test out a hard compound and see if you can do it without stopping?

Negative Camber

Not sure Fred but if I am Cyril, I’m thinking points in the first fly-away races. Securing points is imperative now that competition is there from Manor and Haas F1 and Sauber. Not being last is worth millions of dollars.


Although Pirelli make five compounds for use over the season, only three compounds are available at each race. Two sets of tyres are mandated to be available for use in the race, and at least one of these must be used in the race. To date these have been the two compounds that were used last season. The third compound available has been a stage softer than the tyres used last year, with the result that these have been the tyre of choice for qualifying. Each driver is still required to use two different compounds during the race, so at… Read more »


Except on Wednesdays and the third Tuesday after the autumnal equinox.

I mean, thanks for clearing that up, MIE. :-p

Tom Firth

Can’t wait for them to compare the tire compounds at Silverstone to english foods ;-)


Mediums – Bangers and Mash – Not too flashy, but a solid meal to keep you going for a good while
Softs – Beef Wellington – Because you can give the ol’ girl some welly when you put them on.
Supersofts – Fish and Chips – Start off fast down the pipe, but eventually they turn on you and you may wish you had gone with the bangers and mash.

Tom Firth

As a brit, that was very very amusing.

Very good.


As a Yank, I’ll assume you found my wit amusing, rather than my Yankee-ness. ;-)