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Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix 2024

F1 drivers voice concern over uncertain situation in China

Formula 1's return to China takes place this weekend, with the Shanghai International Circuit hosting its first round since 2019 - but things look a little different.

Shanghai International Circuit
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

This weekend, the Chinese Grand Prix takes place for the first time since 2019.

There is a lot of uncertainty from the drivers and teams ahead of the round due to its long absence from the calendar.

Preparation for the grand prix will be further complicated by just one practice session being held amid an F1 Sprint weekend.

However, another uncertain factor has been injected into the weekend - the track has been adjusted in certain areas and layered with bitumen paint, RacingNews365 understands.

Speaking to media including RacingNews365 ahead of the race weekend, several drivers voiced their concerns over how the cars could react on the surface.

“It's difficult to predict,” admitted Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

“I think also it depends a lot on the type of paint they use, that could cause different issues or have no issues at all - I hope it's the latter that will be the case.

“But for now, it's very difficult to predict. I have only seen pictures, I haven't gone around the track yet. I don't think it's the same everywhere, which might not be great. But before adding further comments I think we just have to drive and see how it feels. ”

Lando Norris was also cautious over the surface, insisting it is something he has not witnessed before.

“I have no idea, I think we just have to wait and see. It's something new something new that I don't think we've seen really before so [it's] hard to predict exactly what's going to happen.”

With rain also forecast for the weekend ahead, it could further complicate the situation, according to Esteban Ocon.

“I haven't been around, just saw pictures for the moment,” he said. “It could be slippery in the wet, it could be very high grip - we can't really tell until we really try.

“A long time ago in our go-kart days, there was sort of paint put on tracks and you used to put down rubber and keep rubber a lot in corners that had a lot of grip. I don't expect that to be the case but it could do a lot of different things.”

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Nico Hulkenberg suggested that answers may come as soon as Thursday: “I guess we'll get more of an idea once the safety car out maybe goes out in the afternoon [on Thursday]. But it's the same for everyone.”

Oscar Piastri was coy over the impact it would have on the cars despite expecting it to feel different to the norm.

“I don't know if it will be grippy or not,” the Australian declared. “I think if it's wet, it'll be a big unknown. But you can kind of see where the cars have driven on it at track days or whatever, it's kind of worn away the blackness.

“It looks more like just an older track because it doesn't look resurfaced. It just looks like it's had some bits ground away and then painted over the top.

“I'm sure it's not going to be super slippery but it might just be a bit might behave a bit differently from what we're used to.”

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