Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations
Shanghai is an anomaly on the calendar 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.
As a result we need to provide optimum support throughout the rev range. Engine braking support is essential to provide a stable rear end into the corners and we anticipate this being even more crucial with the increased tyre wear rate this season. Equally, responsiveness out of the corners is important to carry speed onto the straights, while the top speed must not suffer on that long straight. Let’s not also forget the importance of KERS in Shanghai, as passing down the straight into T14 is one of the key overtaking opportunities.
The location of the Shanghai track also provides an unusual challenge. 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. Our air filters will be checked after each practice session and cleaned thoroughly to prevent blockages and, therefore, a relative loss of power.
The atmospheric conditions of Shanghai add to the difficulty of preparing this race. Ambient temperatures can be variable and there has been a variation of +/-10°C over the past six years. Temperatures can even oscillate drastically over the course of the weekend – in 2012 we saw a variant of around 5°C at some points. While lower temperatures mean a greater engine power output, the fuel consumption per lap however increases so engine engineers will be playing out a careful balancing act all weekend.