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Frederic Vasseur

Vasseur reveals biggest concern surrounding F1's return to China

Frederic Vasseur has revealed his biggest concern ahead of this weekend's first Chinese Grand Prix since 2019.

Vasseur Japan
To news overview © XPBimages

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has revealed that his "biggest question mark" ahead of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix is the tarmac and how F1's 18-inch tyres will perform.

F1 has not visited the Shanghai International Circuit since 2019 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning the current era of cars is yet to drive at the venue.

To add to the concern, tyre manufacturer Pirelli has not been able to send engineers to assess the condition of the circuit, which has seen minimal use recently.

Practice is crucial this weekend so that the teams can gather new data on the circuit, although that is exactly what they do not have.

This weekend marks the first sprint event of the 2024 season, something which has received some criticism from the likes of Max Verstappen.

Vasseur believes the entire paddock heads to China with the same question regarding the tarmac, whilst colder conditions than usual are also forecast.

"I think it will be a difficult one, but if you have a difficult one for everybody then we will all be in the same situation," Vasseur told select media including RacingNews365.

"The biggest question mark for me will be the tarmac, because the layout of the track we know. Most people know that the biggest question mark for me will be the tarmac and probably compared to the last event we have colder conditions.

"We don't know the roughness of the tarmac, this will be key for the weekend."

Free practice pressure

Of course, this weekend's format only consists of one practice session before sprint qualifying, giving the teams just 60 minutes to gather both one-lap and race trim data.

Vasseur recognises that this adds pressure to finding the right set-up almost immedietly, due to the limited time.

"What is a bit difficult with the format of China is that with the tyre allocation and one [practice] session, we have to choose [a set-up] which we are bonded to in the car," added Vasseur.

"Based on Friday, the anticipation on the weekend is crucial."

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