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Shanghai F1 track tipped to favour Ferrari amid Red Bull battle

Ferrari has enjoyed a strong start to the 2024 Formula 1 season, taking a series of podium results - including a race win.

Verstappen win Japan 2024
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Ex-Formula 1 strategy engineer Bernie Collins believes the Shanghai International Circuit will play into Ferrari’s strengths this weekend.

The track’s absence from the F1 calendar will cease this weekend as it hosts the first Chinese Grand Prix since 2019.

Red Bull enter the weekend having won three out of the opening four rounds, with rival Ferrari triumphing in Australia following a brake issue for Max Verstappen.

The Italian squad has shown improved pace across the first rounds this year compared to one season ago - and Collins is confident that the circuit layout in China will suit Ferrari’s package.

“I think it will play to Ferrari's strengths,” she told Sky Sports F1.

“There’s a chance that Ferrari will have closed the gap a little bit to Red Bull and maybe taken a little step away from McLaren.”

Struggles ahead for Mercedes?

The upcoming weekend will also see the first Sprint event of the season, with some drivers questioning the choice to run the alternate format at a track that has been absent from the calendar for five years.

With just one practice session taking place before competitive sessions, Collins outlined that it could hinder Mercedes’ efforts for the weekend.

“Previous to Japan, Mercedes were really unhappy with the car and there was a lot of discussion that their simulation wasn't working correctly,” she stated.

“So how they're assimilating the car reacts to certain changes, to certain environments.

“That’s not great if you're going into a new race or if you're going into a race with a lot of unknowns.

“If you are struggling to simulate a race that you've been to four times in the last four years, then it's not great for one that you've not been to either, unless two wrongs somehow make a right and you ace the setup.”

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