The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team kicks off the weekend on track of the second leg of the first back-to-back races on the calendar in Shanghai this morning with the first of two official free practice sessions that comprise today's programme.
This will be the third grand prix for Alfa Romeo after its return to F1 as the title sponsor of the Swiss team and comes straight off the back of the first points picked up last week in Bahrain.
The driver who drove to that points scoring finish last Sunday evening, Marcus Ericsson, is determined to maintain the momentum from Bahrain, where he finished in P9 and picked up the team’s first two points of the season.
Teammate Charles Leclerc gained experience at Sakhir, and after two competitors received penalties, he was promoted to P12 (from P14). The Monegasque rookie is looking forward to discovering the Shanghai International Circuit, a demanding track with changes of acceleration and deceleration within winding turns and high-speed straights.
The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 team has progressed to the eighth place in the 2018 Constructors Championship while Ericsson currently holds P12 and Leclerc is in P16.
Marcus Ericsson: “I am going to Shanghai feeling really positive. After some difficult times, it is good to be back in the points. It is motivating for the whole team and feels like a good start to a new chapter for us. The track in Shanghai is a fun one to drive. It has a good mix of all different types of corners and features one of the longest straights of the year, followed by a hairpin. We will have to set up the car for all types of speed ranges and corners, which will be a good challenge. It is also always fun to see the enthusiastic Chinese fans there. I can’t wait to be back on track.”
Charles Leclerc: “I look forward to going to our next race in China. It was a good race for the team in Bahrain last weekend, with Marcus scoring two points. Now that we have started seeing our potential we are all motivated and eager to continue on this positive path. This will be the third Formula 1 Grand Prix for me, and I am feeling more confident in the car. I have never driven on the circuit at Shanghai before, so it will be an interesting experience that will allow me to continue gaining more experience as a driver. The track looks amazing and the fans are always very passionate. Let’s see what is possible for us there.”
Designed by architects Hermann Tilke and Peter Wahl, the Shanghai International Circuit has the longest straight on the whole race calendar, where a good top speed is important. The track has an interesting mix of low, medium and high-speed corners.
In addition to that, it has several technical sections with corner complexes where unique corners, such as T1 and T13, lead straight into further corners requiring a good car balance and precise driving. Good traction is a must.
Photos: Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team - 2018 FIA F1 World Championship